EU Contributes To The Future Of The Sugar Cane Industry In Barbados

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A comprehensive review of the Barbados sugar industry has been conducted for the Barbados Government by Landell Mills Ltd., one of the world’s leading international development consulting firms.

Fully-funded by the European Union at a cost of BDS$3.4 million, the 18-month study commenced in January 2010 and contains recommendations for improving the productivity and efficiency of the Barbados Sugar Cane industry. Special focus has been placed on the operations of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) Ltd., given its predominance in the industry and its role as a government-owned entity.

The objective of the institutional review of the sugar industry in Barbados was to facilitate the transition from the traditional sugar industry to a new one that functions more efficiently and which is more profitable than its predecessor. The recommendations of the team of consultants should provide the groundwork for the institutional restructuring and strengthening of the BAMC and the reorganisation of independent and small sugar farmers.

The study was carried out in three phases, investigative and diagnostic; strategy formulation and evaluation, as well as intervention and action planning. It was subdivided into eight components, which included reviewing the financial, human resource and support services of the BAMC; submission of proposals for the recapitalisation of the BAMC; reviewing the operations of the Agricultural Research and Variety Testing Unit; reviewing non-sugar/food crop productivity and efficiency in Barbados; as well as a review of soil and nutrition management of the sugar cane industry in the island.

During the period of the review three progress reports and a draft final report, three stakeholder workshops, training programmes – including a comprehensive one for Farm Managers and Supervisors, as well as the development of manuals and resource materials were completed.

Among other things, the study also recommends the development of a food crop plan which, when combined with a revitalised sugar cane farming operation, would impact positively on the overall financial position of the BAMC.

The Draft Final Report, which contains main findings, conclusions and recommendations, was discussed by the relevant stakeholders and government officials at a workshop held on August, 17 this year. The Final Report from the Consultants is expected by the end of August 2011.

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