Hardbeatnews, BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Mon. July 25, 2005: The sugar industry in St. Kitts has officially grounded to a halt. Thirty-three full carts of canes were delivered to the factory at 1:15 p.m. on Friday July 22, as government officials, sugar workers and media representatives looked on.
“We have done all that we can to save the sugar industry, but because of the high cost of production in relation to monies received and the pending 39 percent reduction for sugar bought from the ACP countries including St. Kitts and Nevis, we had to take that decision,” Minister of Housing, Agriculture, Fisheries and Consumer Affairs, Cedric Liburd, said.
He also revealed that the debt of the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation is now at a staggering EC$350 million. But noted that while plans were drawn up for closure of the industry plans for the future of a sugar cane industry was also prepared.
“It has been said that we need to look at using the sugar cane plant for a rum industry, animal feed, the co-generation of electricity and the production of ethanol,” said Minister Liburd, adding that the Transition Team has been mandated to carry out feasibility studies to ascertain the viability of those projects.
Non-sugar agriculture will play an important role in the diversification of this sector and over 1,500 acres of land has been distributed to farmers for food crop and livestock production aimed at providing more fruits, vegetables and meat for local and overseas consumption, he said.
Meanwhile, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas and other cabinet ministers are set to meet all sugar workers at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday July 26th.