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Plan for cane industry

Trevor Yearwood

Plan for cane industry

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An ambitious plan that would see the sugar industry producing items such as wax and lignin and generating a lot more electricity is still on the cards.
Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick made this clear yesterday, when debate on the 2011-12 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure continued in the House of Assembly.
He told parliamentarians the industry was losing about $1 460 on each tonne of sugar produced.
“The industry in its present form . . . is therefore not sustainable,” he pointed out.
“ . . . This is the plan. This administration has moved to form the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation. Under the management of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company, the objective is todiversify the number of products that one can get from the sugar cane plant.” The plan was to produce “specialty sugars”, electricity from bagasse, waxes and lignin, a compound with industrial uses including as a dispersant in highperformance cement applications and an additive in oilfield works and agricultural chemicals.
“We are far advanced in that arrangement towards the development of a multi-purpose sugar factory and we also want to say . . . that this factory will have the capacity to produce electricity for the grid.”
The previous Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government devised a major sugar industry action plan that included growing “fuel canes” and producing ethanol. Some elements of the plan havebeen abandoned. But in recent months, farmers and other industry stakeholders have complained that this Government had not stated whether it would implement the remainder of the plan.