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Call for hike in sugar price


RICKY JORDAN

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A BUSINESS PLAN calling for a major increase  in the price of sugar  to consumers has been sent to Government  for its perusal.
Dubbed “Saving The Sugar Industry”, the plan by the Barbados Society  of Technologists in Agriculture is based  on shrinking the industry to fit the market for  local sugar and provide  a proven rotation crop  to facilitate food-crop production.
It is proposing that some 11 000 to 12 000 acres be cultivated, with some 276 000 tons of cane being harvested from  9 200 acres.  
The society noted, however, that upon examining the cost to produce one ton of cane, farmers should be paid $120 per ton. In their view, this would result in a field revenue per acre of $3 600 which, they added, should be profitable for any well run farm.
The society’s subcommittee on the sugar industry, headed by veteran sugar technologist Keith Laurie, therefore recommended that packaged sugar be sold on the local market at $3 700 per ton or $1.68 per pound – up from the current retail price of 77 cents.
This, the plan noted, would result in about  $44 million total revenue per sugar crop.  
“At this price, which would be fair to the consumer and the industry, the factory stands to make some  $10 million per crop,” revealed Laurie.
Among the recommendations of the plan is that only grade “A” sugar and “A” molasses be made at Andrews sugar factory, since there is a market for about 12 000 tons of high quality “A” sugar. “A” molasses would be sold to the rum industry at about $500  per ton and bring in  $9.5 million in revenue,  Laurie explained.
He also recommended that the filtrate from the rotary vacuum filter could be sold on the basis of fermentable sugars to a satellite distillery owned and operated by the rum industry, which would result in further revenue to the tune of some $3.5 million per crop.
“Andrews sugar factory is presently equipped with electrical generators capable of producing one megawatt, which is estimated to result in revenue of $3 million”  to the factory per crop,“Laurie said.
“Because we would be downsizing the factory, we would have surplus electricity which we would sell to the national grid.”
Laurie and the Society of Technologists in Agriculture said the industry could be saved by their plan.

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