Sugar cane cutters and farmers in St. Thomas are to receive $200 million to assist with restructuring activities, following the closure of the Golden Grove Sugar Factory in July 2019.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, made the announcement during a meeting with the farmers, at the factory located in Duckenfield on Friday (Jan 24).
“We started out by asking for $50 million to help you, then we went up to $80 million. Well, I am telling you today that I have gotten approval now for $200 million to start helping in the process here,” he said.
Minister Shaw noted that the funds are to be used for the planting of new crops, given that the demand for sugar cane has decreased.
“That $200 million is going to go into the ground, because handing out money just to carry you through next week and next month will not solve the problem,” he said.
“Importantly, the majority of that $200 million is going to be used to assist you to start planting other things. It will come in the form of inputs, fertilisers, seeds and animals,” he added.
Sugar-cane farmers in the parish have been negatively affected by the closure of the Golden Grove Sugar Factory.
The Golden Grove Sugar Factory was closed in July 2019 by manufacturing company Seprod, which took over the business in 2009 with the hope of reviving the ailing sugar operation.