The local sugar industry experienced sweeter days this season, with the authorities reporting double digit growth in production.
The Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) today reported that not only there was a 15 per cent increase in sugar production, but the country was also in the process of exporting the commodity to the United States of America.
General Manager Leslie Parris revealed that Portvale, the sole sugar factory in operation, produced 11,542 tonnes of sugar this year, compared to 10,037 in 2017.
“Of the 11,000 tonnes of sugar, we expect domestically to sell 5,000 tonnes. We have another 4,000 which would be exported as raw bulk and the remainder, another 2,000 tonnes, which would be direct consumption sugar,” Parris disclosed.
“We started some exports to the Caribbean . . . and we are seeking to enter the United States market with Barbados-produced sugar,” he said, adding that Barbados was reducing the ratio of bulk to direct consumption, especially since the world price for bulk was currently relatively “soft”.
Direct consumption sugar is bought from shop shelves, while bulk is usually shipped to be converted to sweeteners and the like.
Parris also reported a 12 per cent rise in the amount of canes ground this year –
146,789 tonnes, compared to 131,144 tonnes last year.
The BAMC boss also predicted further improvements both in cane and sugar production next year.
“We are hopeful that subject to weather, next year we will see again a similar performance . . . ten or 11 per cent increase in production of sugar as well as cane. But we will be able to firm up those estimates between October and December of this year. We are also encouraging more cane planting, and that is being done through the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation,” he said.
Parris said while there were challenges such as a late start to the crop and the amount of canes needed to produce one tonne of sugar, he was delighted that cane fires were not a major problem for the crop this year.