Jamaica props up sugar industry

09 February 1999

Jamaica props up sugar industry

JAMAICA is taking outright control of an increasing number of sugar mills plagued by inefficient production and poor weather, reports the Financial Times.

The takeovers are part of the Jamaican governments attempt to prevent the total collapse of an industry which brings in £61 million a year from sugar exports.

The Tropicana mill recently became the fourth ailing mill to be renationalised agyer becoming insolvent last year when it was leased to a private company.

Roger Clarke, the Jamaican agriculture minister, expects the mill to take at least five years to become return to solvency despite £3.2m worth of government support.

Jamaican sugar production is expected to reach 220,000 tonnes this year, against 180,000 tonnes last year.

But the higher output will still leave the island short of sugar after it has met its export quota requirements.

The islands production costs are 20p/lb, four times more than the world market price, which has been further depreciated by the devaluation of the Brazilian currency.

  • Financial Times 09/02/99 page 32

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