LONG POND MISS PROJECT TARGET - Everglades Farms reiterates commitment
The crop started in March following a $1 billion upgrading and modernization of the factory.
During the crop, the factory was estimated to crush approximately 88,000 tonnes of cane in which farmers claimed that they had an estimated 40,000 tons while the estate estimate was 48,000 tonnes, making the overall estimate of cane projected to be reaped during the current crop at 88,000 tons.
As a result of the estimated tonnage of cane put forward by private farmers, coupled with a similar amount from Everglades Farms, the Long Pond Sugar factory had forecast to produce approximately 8000 tonnes of sugar for the current crop.
However, Everglades indicates that a number of factors militated against these projections becoming a reality for this crop.
Chief among the factors are :
(1) The farmers inability to sufficiently organize and manage their reaping operations.
2) The lack of adequate haulage equipment (trucks and tractors)
(3) Farmers inability to mobilize enough cane cutters to carry out reaping exercises at their fields and
(4) A shortage of loaders
According to a statement from Everglades, prior to the start of the 2011/2012 sugar crop, the chairman of the Long Pond Vale Royal Cane Farmers Association.Delroy Anderson indicated to the bi-weekly meeting of the Long Pond Harvesting Committee meeting that a total of 50-trucks had been registered to haul cane for the current crop.
Of that amount, a total of 20-truckers were given financing loans to repair their trucks.
Only 13- out of the 20 truckers who received loans have since turned-up to haul cane since the start of the crop and presently only seven are in the system hauling cane.
Even members of Long Pond Vale Royal Cane Farmers Association who were given loans to fix their trucks, to date, have not used their trucks to haul one stick of cane.
The factory was also affected by the “running out of cane “for nearly a month as farmers were unable to satisfy their ‘burnt order quota’ due to the above outlined factors among other issues.
There was also a series of technical glitches at the factory due to the modernization process.
At the commencement of the crop in April, it was agreed by the farmers and Everglades Farms Limited that the company would provide equipment and labour assistance to the farmers to reap an estimated 5000 tons of stand over cane.
Immediately, Chief Executive Officer of Everglades Farms Limited, Andrew Hussey, ordered that all reaping activities on the Long Pond estate farms be suspended and the resources be deployed to the farmers in honouring the company’s commitment.
Resources that were sent to assist farmers from Everglades Farms include: cane cutters, loaders, haulage equipment and transportation for cane cutters. The latter was done at the company’s expense.
That reaping exercise was short-lived as there was no assistance from the farmers to reap their cane. Subsequently, the farmers decided to suspend reaping in the particular areas and instructed that the resources be returned to the Everglades Farms fields and return on a phased basis at a later stage.
This is expected to be done in another week’s time.
Everglades Farms Limited says it is committed to assisting our local cane farmers with the necessary resources once they are available, but the company, at the same time, wants to remind cane farmers, that they are in a business and Everglades Farms Limited will at no time assume responsibility for organizing it for them.
Everglades Farms Limited reiterate its commitment to the parish of Trelawny and its people, noting that the one billion Jamaican dollar investment in the Long Pond Sugar factory is a clear testament of the company’s unwavering commitment as a good corporate company.