Chang­ing weather pat­terns af­fect global sugar out­put

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE -

Ja­maica at low­est pro­duc­tion since 1935

THE SUGAR As­so­ci­a­tion of the Caribbean (SAC) is re­port­ing that global sugar pro­duc­tion has been dis­ap­point­ing this year, mainly due to chang­ing weather pat­terns. The SAC said the out­come is that for the rest of 2016 and 2017, there will be a five-mil­lion tonne deficit in­ter­na­tion­ally, which will re­sult in higher sugar prices.

At its 165th An­nual Board Meet­ing held in Kingston last week, the SAC di­rec­tors also re­ported that pro­duc­tion in the Caribbean Re­gion has been sim­i­larly af­fected, with Ja­maica re­port­ing its low­est sugar pro­duc­tion since 1935. How­ever, the SAC said that not­with­stand­ing these chal­lenges, the SAC mem­bers pro­duced just over 450,000 tonnes of sugar for the 2015-2016 crop. The SAC mem­bers are the Bar­ba­dos Agri­cul­tural Man­age­ment Com­pany, Belize Sugar In­dus­tries Lim­ited, Guyana Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion Inc, and the Sugar Man­u­fac­tur­ing Cor­po­ra­tion of Ja­maica Lim­ited.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s board, chaired by Ja­maica’s Karl James, stated that the re­gion has no chal­lenge in dis­pos­ing of the sugar that is pro­duced. The mar­kets avail­able to SAC mem­bers are the Euro­pean Union (EU) for which it has ac­cess to sell 533,000 tonnes, the United States, which pro­vides a base quota of 43,175 tonnes, and the re­gional mar­ket. The SAC board said its mem­bers are pay­ing more at­ten­tion to the USA and the re­gional mar­kets where prices are bet­ter. In 20152016, pro­jected sales to these mar­kets were 26,000 tonnes and 25,000 tonnes, re­spec­tively. The SAC mem­bers have also re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to sup­ply­ing all the raw sugar needs of the re­gion.

BREXIT IM­PACT ON SUGAR

In con­junc­tion with some mem­bers of the Lon­don Sugar Group, the SAC mem­bers dis­cussed the likely im­pli­ca­tions for sugar when the UK leaves the EU as a re­sult of the Brexit vote ear­lier this year. The SAC board said mem­bers recog­nised that there were op­por­tu­ni­ties for sugar, in that there would have to be ne­go­ti­a­tions for a UK-CARICOM Free Trade Agree­ment. The SAC mem­bers have agreed to be­gin their own di­a­logue and co­or­di­nate with the po­lit­i­cal di­rec­torate to en­sure sugar is­sues have a voice when these ne­go­ti­a­tions take place.

The SAC an­nounced that the Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment be­tween the Euro­pean Union and CARIFORM (CARICOM mem­bers and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic) will re­main in force, ex­cept, it would not ap­ply to the UK once they exit from the EU.

In the mean­time, the di­rec­tors of the SAC fi­nalised plans for the op­er­a­tions of the West Indies Cen­tral Sugar Cane Breed­ing Sta­tion (WICSCBS). It was es­tab­lished as a sep­a­rate le­gal en­tity ear­lier this year. Un­der the new ar­range­ment, the SAC, which owns the as­sets at the breed­ing fa­cil­ity, has agreed that these re­sources can be utilised by the new en­tity, West Indies Cane Breed­ing Sta­tion.

The board of the WICSCBS met and agreed to cater for ex­panded mem­ber­ship out­side of the cur­rent four mem­bers of the SAC. This move will see an in­jec­tion of new cap­i­tal that will en­able the WICSCBS to be on a stronger fi­nan­cial foot­ing and, there­fore, en­hance its breed­ing pro­gramme.

JAMES

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