KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday November 28, 2016 – Global sugar yields this year have been anything but sweet and the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) warns that the price of the commodity will rise on the international market.
At its just concluded 165th meeting in Kingstown last week, the regional body reported that global production has fallen short by some five million tonnes, blaming the drop on changing weather patterns.
In the Caribbean, the sugar sector was severely affected by prolonged drought conditions and the SAC members, Barbados Agricultural Management Company, Belize Sugar Industries Limited, Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc, and the Sugar Manufacturing Corporation of Jamaica Limited posted declines.
Overall SAC members produced just over 450,000 tonnes of sugar for the 2015-2016 crop.
Notwithstanding the challenges, the association noted that Caribbean would be able to sell all its produce to European Union and the United States.
The EU remains the biggest market, taking some 533,000 tonnes while the United States takes 43,000 tonnes. This year, projected sales are 26,000 and 25,000 tonnes respectively.
The SAC was, however, paying close attention to the EU market, which is still trying to come to terms with the Brexit vote. The association said it would have to renegotiate a UK-CARICOM Free Trade Agreement.
SAC countries have begun their own dialogue and they have agreed to pressure politicians to ensure their concerns about the future of the sector will be addressed when the negotiations begin.