Business

Shortage of cutters, haulage equipment sets sugar industry back 21%

Friday, May 25, 2018

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Shortage of cane cutters, haulage equipment as well as illicit cane fires were some of the reasons given for a 21 per cent decline in Jamaica's sugar output for the first three months of the year.

Data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) also showed that the country recorded contractions for coffee and cocoa production due to the resurgence of the coffee leaf rust disease and the frosty pod cocoa disease. Declines were also recorded for animal farming, down 5.2 per cent, from lower poultry meat production, while rum and alcohol and carbonated beverages were down 13.4 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.

The performance contributed to the minuscule growth Jamaica's agriculture, forestry and fishing industry recorded of 0.5 per cent for the period January to March.

Although small, growth was facilitated by improved weather conditions relative to the corresponding quarter of 2017, outweighing the contractions recorded for sugar, coffee and cocoa.

The chemical and chemical products category contributed the lion's share of the industry's growth with fertiliser production increasing 53.6 per cent. Increased output was also recorded for the category 'other agricultural crops', which grew 1.4 per cent due to growth recorded for fruits, up 11.1 per cent; other tubers, up 5.2 per cent,;and vegetables, up 3.9 per cent.

Jamaica's traditional export crops also grew 2.2 per cent largely due to a 13.5 per cent increase in banana production.

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