The general manager of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) today called for routine police and army joint patrols of sugar cane fields against the backdrop of a large number of cane fires last year.
Parris also pleaded with residents not to burn the canes.
He told Barbados TODAY that when cane fires were set, it not only disrupted the reaping schedule but, more critically, reduced the yields.
Parris revealed that for the first two days of the 2015 sugar harvest, more than 3,000 tonnes of canes had been delivered to Portvale in St James, the lone factory currently operating.
“On Tuesday there was the delivery of approximately 1,116 tonnes of canes and then yesterday, Wednesday, we received 2,000 tonnes approximately. The factory was grinding from last night and we ground right through the night. So we are operating as expected,” he said.
“There appear to be no major issues with the equipment at this point in time.”
He said canes were being received from seven fields, including Rock Hall, Three Houses, Constant and Duke, with two weighing stations in full operation.
Parris also told Barbados TODAY that every effort was being made to achieve the production target of 12,000 tonnes of sugar this year.
He pointed out that while the quality of cane has not been too bad, he would be receiving a comprehensive report on the juice quality by next week.
The top agricultural executive said that report would also cover all other issues related to quality.
However, he said, “what we have noticed was that the canes received from [some of the fields] have had a lot of grass in them, suggesting that perhaps the husbandry was not necessarily up to par”.
“Now we would have heard from the farmers from time to time their description of the issues that they face with respect to the financing of their operations during the year, so we assume that that is the major reason behind the amount of grass, and in some cases what they would call river tamarind, that we have seen in some of the cane that arrived.”