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┬ęSIRI/SIA, March 2001




The 2003/04 crop commenced at Frome Sugar Factory on December 8, 2003 and ended at Trelawny Sugar Company (Long Pond) on August 18, 2004. The duration of the crop was 255 days compared with 235 days for the previous crop. The length of the crop was heavily influenced by Trelawny Sugar Company which began crushing canes late (February 24, 2004) and which, along with St. Thomas Sugar Company, extended production beyond their projected finishing dates to meet a special order. Sugar output was favourably influenced by a relatively cool and dry reaping season.




Sugar production for the crop was 183, 672 tonnes of 96┬░ sugar, 20.4 per cent above the comparative figure of 152, 538 tonnes produced in the previous year (Table 2). The volume of cane crushed, excluding cane to distilleries, was 1,993,145 tonnes, 12.2 per cent more than the 1,775,725 tonnes produced in the previous year (Table1).  








Cane Milled (‘000 tonnes)









96º Sugar Production (‘000 tonnes)



Hectares Reaped (‘000)



Tonnes cane/hectare



Tonnes cane /tonne sugar



Tonnes sugar/hectare





The tonnes cane per tonne sugar ratio of 10.85 is a significant improvement over the previous year’s ratio of 11.64. The improvement in this statistic is explained by better quality canes and improved extraction rate by the factories.






Performances, measured by Factory Recovery Index (FRI) and the Jamaica Recoverable Cane Sugar (JRCS), continued to show mixed results. Average FRI declined from 90.42 in 2002/03 to 87.31 in 2003/04 while average JRCS improved from 9.57 to 10.63 during the same period. Two factories, Appleton and Worthy Park, surpassed the standard FRI of 91.00 units with performances of 93.13 and 96.08 units respectively. All the other factories, except Bernard Lodge (88.48 units), were in the low eighties. All factories, except St. Thomas, which maintained the previous year’s performance, improved their JRCS performances in 2003/04 (Tables 3 & 4).





The price paid to growers and millers for the 2003/04 was the highest in recent times. They were paid $31,387 per tonne sugar, an increase of 13 % over the $27,787 paid in 2002/03. This level of payment was made possible because of increased earnings from the export of sugar to the European Union resulting from the continued strengthening of the euro in which sales of our sugar are denominated. The division of the payment between cane growers and manufacturers according to the split of 62% to growers and 38% to manufacturers was as follows:


                                2002/03           2003/04   

Cane Growers         (62%)    $17,228.00        $19,460.00

Sugar Manufacturers                  (38%)    $10,559.00        $11,927.00

                              $27,787.00        $31,387.00                                                                       



The actual grinding time for all factories was 61.09 per cent of total available time which represents an improvement of 22.9 per cent over the 49.69 per cent achieved in 2002/03. This improvement, which is still below acceptable levels, is mostly explained by a 44 per cent reduction in non-factory stoppages from 31.70 per cent of total available time in 2002/03 to 17.76 per cent for the 2003/04 crop. Factory stoppages due to mechanical problems (9.88 per cent of total available time) was the single largest factor contributing to time loss during the crop. All factories except Trelawny Sugar Company surpassed the 50 per cent mark in actual grinding time (Table 5).




The total (gross) value of sugar exports in 2003/04 was US$98,684,138 which was 32.7 per cent above the value of US$74,379,855 in 2002/03. The volume of sugar exported was 159,908 tonnes, of which 136,005 tonnes of Protocol sugar went to the United Kingdom at a value of US$86,109,920. The amount of 12,676 tonnes was shipped under the SPS arrangement at a value of US$7,557,264. (Table 6).


The euro continued to strengthen vis-à-vis the US dollar in 2004 and this resulted in significantly higher export earnings per tonne sugar sold to the United Kingdom. Earnings per tonne increased from US$579.70 in 2002/03 to US$633.14 in 2003/04, while the earnings per tonne for Special Preferential Sugar increased from US$548.09 per tonne to US$596.14 per tonne. The base price of Î520.37 for protocol sugar remained the same. 






The amount of local raw sugar sold on the domestic market during the 2003/04 crop was 15,558 tonnes, compared with 17,908 tonnes in 2002/03. When sale of imported brown sugar was added to the above, the comparative figures were 49,553 tonnes and 53,278 tonnes respectively. The volume of locally produced raw sugar consumed within a crop year is dependent on the level of domestic production because the first objective of the industry is to supply sugar to the preferential markets. Thus, the volume of imported raw sugar increases in times of low production. Although production in 2003/04 was higher than in 2002/03 it was not enough to meet our export requirements and supply the domestic market.




During the period under review the Sugar Industry continued to focus attention on critical and strategic areas of the industry. These include:


Markets: This area became urgent because of developments in our most important export market, the European Union. The threat of drastic price reduction which was to be implemented in 2005 spurred the SIA, in collaboration with other ACP countries, to pursue an intense lobbying effort to avert the timing and extent of a proposed price reduction. The Executive Chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority, Ambassador Derick Heaven, was one of the negotiators at the forefront of the lobbying initiative which is proving to be quite successful.


Production Volume and Costs: The industry continues to implement programmes to increase cane and sugar production and to reduce costs. These include:

¨a replanting programme designed to increase the productivity of existing canefields and bring new fields into production

¨a factory upgrading programme with the objective of improving the extraction efficiency of the sugar factories.


Diversification: During the period under review the industry continued to explore the production of several products other than raw sugar from the sugar cane plant. It was agreed that the industry should return to sugar refining and that cogeneration and the production of Ethanol should be pursued.




SIA / SIRI. Summer Training Programme

The SIA/SIRI summer training programme included for the first time a number of Agricultural Courses in addition to the usual complement of Factory Courses. The programme commenced on August 9, 2004 and was completed on August 25, 2004. Four (4) agricultural and five (5) factory courses were held. A breakdown of the courses with participants is shown below:


Factory Courses                                                 No. of Participants

            Arc Welding                                                                    7

Pump Installation & Maintenance                                   10

Supervisory Management                                               19

Laboratory Procedures & Practice                                 22

Machine Shop Practice, Stage 1                                     11

       Total                                                                             69


Agricultural Courses                                                                                             

Farm Mechanization & Planting                                      17                      

Sugar Cane Nutrition & Weed Control                           17

Irrigation & Drainage                                                      17

Profitable Cane Growing                                                44

Total                                                                             95                                                              


The courses were put on in collaboration with UTECH and HEART institutions, Ebony Park Academy, Portmore Academy and the National Tool & Engineering Institute (NTEI). 


SIRI personnel along with specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture instructed the participants attending the agricultural courses.  SIRI, UTECH and industry personnel instructed the participants on the factory courses.


Both agricultural and factory courses were well attended.  All the estates participated in the factory courses and all but Worthy Park took part in the agricultural courses. Ten Cane Farmers and one contractor attended the agricultural courses. 

Evaluation of the programme elicited favourable responses from course participants. There was general agreement that course content was very relevant to their areas of work and was delivered at a pace which allowed for satisfactory interpretation and assimilation. Subject areas were covered adequately, at the correct level and contained a good mix of theory and practice.


Training in Raw Cane Sugar Processing

At the request of the Sugar Company of Jamaica, the Institute developed and presented a course in raw cane sugar processing for factory personnel at St. Thomas and Trelawny Sugar Companies. The course was organized by Mr. Joshua Jaddoo, Factory Services Manager, SIRI, assisted by two visiting Sugar Technologists from Guyana, Messrs. George James and Joshua Ragnauth. Course objectives included coverage of the following areas:


    Cane Quality: Assessment and Payment

    Sugar Quality: Implications for earnings and markets

    Identifying and correcting sugar losses during process operations

    Identifying and correcting deficiencies in sugar quality.


Forty-four staff members from the above factories participated.


Training Seminars

Training seminars for core and factory laboratory staff were conducted at all factories. The seminars addressed areas such as sample preparation, instrumentation, analysis of juice, syrup, massecuite, sugar and bagasse samples. The importance of using the approved methods of analysis, following stipulated procedures and the need to analyse and interpret experimental data were highlighted.


C34 M Sugar Cane Processing Course

The sugar industry has for several years been one of the industries selected by the University of the West Indies for detailed study. Consistent with this selection the Department of Chemistry continues to include a course in Sugar Cane Processing within the Applied Chemistry programme. The course is the joint effort of the UWI and SIA/SIRI. It seeks to expose young chemists to industries in the island which are chemistry - based. The course consists of lectures, tutorials and work-study. Mr. Ludlow Brown of SIA is a part-time lecturer attached to the Chemistry Department which has overall responsibility for the programme.


During the review period two students were selected to undertake projects in the sugar industry. The projects involved comparative studies of methods for determining polarization of molasses and the concentration of dextran in process solutions.


The students were instructed in the methods of chemical analysis involved at the Central Laboratory, SIRI, Mandeville under the supervision of the Laboratory Manager, Dr. Maureen Wilson and the studies were carried out at the Bernard Lodge factory.




The main objective of the Institute is the provision of technical support and research services to the industry through its Agricultural, Factory and Central Services Divisions.





In 2004 the Sugar Industry Research Institute commenced work on a 3-year project, negotiated between the Institute and the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), an Agency of the United Nations headquartered in Amsterdam. Valued at US$2.538 million, the project entitled “Enhancing the viability and competitiveness of Caribbean Sugar Industries” is focused on increasing productivity of farmers on small holdings. The CFC provides US $1.5 million in the form of grant funds while Jamaica and Trinidad contribute the equivalent of US 1.038 in cash and kind. Trinidad and Tobago are partners in the project, though organisational changes at Caroni Ltd during the course of the year have delayed that country’s participation. SIRI is the designated Project Executing Agency. Given the setbacks caused by hurricane Ivan, satisfactory progress has been made to date and developments under the Project may be summarised as follows:


Component 1. Establishment of seed cane nurseries 

This component seeks to ensure availability of newly released commercial varieties to growers across the industry and is the most advanced of the components to date. Some 46 ha of secondary nurseries have been established on farmers’ holdings in various sections of the industry. Primary seed stock supplied by the SIRI Experimental Farm at Springfield, Clarendon, for the most part, was used to establish these nurseries. Towards the end of the year, seed cane from these secondary nurseries was extended to tertiary nurseries being established across the farming community.


Component 2. Farmer participatory evaluation of varieties 

This component, designed to have farmers themselves participate in assessing the merits of newer varieties, uses primary seed cane generated by Component 1 and was implemented towards the end of the year, with the establishment of two plots.


Component 3. Farmer participatory training in improved agronomic and management practices 

Based largely on the establishment of demonstration plots across the industry, this component seeks to ensure use of recommended practices by cane growers. Several plots were established at various locations and training seminars held to bring farmers up to date with the latest technology.


Component 4. Establishing and operating a pilot centre pivot irrigation scheme among contiguous cane farming holdings

A contract was awarded for the establishment of a centre pivot irrigation scheme to benefit 18 contiguous cane farms, covering roughly 60.8 ha, in the Content area of Clarendon. Growers were formed into a Water User Association that will manage the scheme to ensure continuity beyond the end of the project. Assistance in the form of interest-free loans given to these farmers for replanting or to upgrade cultivation, will be recovered and used to start a bank account to be used exclusively to defray operating and maintenance costs associated with the system. The bank account will be further augmented by a cess from cane sales by these growers to ensure that future operation and maintenance charges may be met. Selected members of the group are being trained to become operators of the system. By year end the centre pivot was installed and awaiting electricity connection for testing. Commissioning is expected to take place as soon as the existing crop is harvested and the site freed for installation of culverts and bridges along the wheel tracks.


Component 5. Research and development into factors affecting yield decline 

Crop rotation is being investigated as a technique to halt yield decline in sugar cane. High-valued Sea Island Cotton was the rotation crop planted at three locations (in Trelawny and Clarendon). Unfortunately, the initial seeds supplied were of low viability and necessitated heavy supplying. This was compounded by the hurricane in September. At one location the cotton was eventually inter-cropped with peanuts to fill gaps. Scientific studies on the changes in soil will be conducted. After a break of 1 or 2 years these plots will be returned to sugar cane and the impact of crop rotation assessed in comparison with uninterrupted monoculture.


Component 6. Evaluation of Farm Modules Component 6. Evaluation of Farm Modules 

Record keeping booklets have been produced and distributed to selected growers. Training sessions in record keeping were then held among selected growers so that data could be gathered to permit empirical measures of the relative efficiency of various farming systems.


In summary, this first phase of the CFC project was spent largely in sensitising growers about what the Project entailed, the benefits to be derived from it and what their responsibilities would be. With the foundation now laid, it is expected that the momentum will be quickened considerably. Participants are now more familiar with the method of operation and some of the delays encountered during the first year should be reduced considerably during the remaining life of the project.




The Extension Services Unit continued to provide technical advice in sugar cane production to the cane farming sector – some 8,000 farmers as well as on-farm assistance to sugar estates. The Unit has as its main functions the provision of information and training in relevant agronomic techniques; the correct use and application of agricultural chemicals; piloting the expansion of new commercial varieties in conjunction with the Variety Development section of the Agronomy Department; providing technical reports which form the basis for the disbursement of replanting loan funds; collecting data for assessing industry performance in cane production; providing information and training related to cane harvesting, the cane payment system and general management information for the industry. In addition, Extension Officers managed several plant nurseries and demonstration plots across all the cane growing areas.




During the year, quantitative and qualitative evaluations of sixty varieties were undertaken in yield trials across the industry. The assessments were made after the varieties were screened for their susceptibility to smut so that only those varieties which were resistant were retained in the programme. A Stage 1 nursery with 31,300 seedlings was established at Monymusk; in addition, Stage 2 and Stage 3 nurseries with 2,032 clones and 470 varieties respectively were assessed for further development.


Four promising varieties, BJ8532, BJ8534, BJ 8783 and the locally developed J9501, were selected for accelerated multiplication in semi-commercial (pre-release) nurseries for distribution to growers throughout the industry. BJ8859 was recommended for commercial production in the St. Thomas – Ye- Vale area, even though it was observed to be moderately susceptible to smut since it was shown to be a high sucrose variety. Six other varieties of the BJ90 series are currently being propagated in holding nurseries before promotion to semi-commercial nurseries.


During the year, a large inventory of varieties was released to growers for commercial production. These included BJ7504, the most widely grown variety occupying 25% of plant cane hectarage and BJ7015, the second most important variety (15%). Other varieties of significance were BJ7465, BJ78100, BJ82102, BJ8252, BJ7938, BJ82156, BJ82119, BJ7627 and BJ7355. BJ78100 proved very popular in the arid southern plains of Clarendon and St. Catherine because of its tolerance to stress and underwent rapid propagation replacing UCW5465.




The Institute continues to promote the use of reduced tillage as a technique for effective land preparation while reducing the number of operations required in conventional land preparation. A prototype of a single row machine (RTM 1.5) has been fabricated commercially based on designs developed by the Agricultural Engineering Department and is now being evaluated on farms in the Trelawny area. Reduced tillage is a major component of the concept of Conservation Agriculture which the Institute is seeking to promote in the industry. This complements SIRI’s efforts in other areas such as green cane harvesting, trash blanketing, the use of organic manures and biological pest control to assist the industry in adopting methods which are more environmentally acceptable in sugar cane production.




The Institute, through the instrumentality of the Ministry of Land and Environment and the Land Information Council of Jamaica, has acquired satellite IKONOS imagery maps, in electronic form, of all the major cane growing areas of the island. The maps have proved to be of considerable use in: planning and implementing the use of Centre Pivot and Drip Irrigation systems and in improving existing drainage systems; assessing the hurricane-induced damage to drainage systems in the sugar cane growing areas of Westmoreland.


Other important long-term benefits to accrue from the use of this technology include: monitoring of the life span of the sugar cane crop over several crop cycles to determine trends in yields; linking soil database information to satellite imagery to obtain information on cane yields in relation to soil composition - structure, moisture, fertility, chemical status and topography.




An industry-wide survey for ratoon stunting disease (RSD) was completed in 2004. Samples collected and prepared in the approved manner were sent for analysis at the French Agricultural Research Station, CIRAD, in Guadeloupe. Previous surveys had failed to establish the presence of RSD in Jamaica, although this is a disease long affecting nearly every sugar cane industry in the world. The causative organism was detected in this survey, but at relatively low levels of intensity, at St. Thomas Sugar Co., Worthy Park, Appleton, and Frome. No positive readings were obtained from samples taken at New Yarmouth, Rhymesbury, Tulloch Estate, Bernard Lodge and Long Pond. Varieties affected were D14146, BJ8226, BJ7504, BJ7262, BJ7627, BJ82119 and BJ82156. Early indications were that D14146 was the most susceptible. However, this is a variety that was present on only a small acreage in St Thomas. Since these results became known, most of the variety has been removed. A more intense survey is being planned to establish in greater detail the distribution of the pathogen in the industry.




The Institute’s effort to launch a system of payment that encourages delivery of better quality canes during harvesting at St Thomas Sugar Company was unsuccessful despite enthusiastic support of the management and all the preparations being made, including sensitising of the various players and putting the requisite computer program in place. Inadequate factory preparation and attendant operational problems and inefficiencies led the management to recommend a postponement.




Other aspects of the Institute’s field work are reflected in the following papers presented to the Conference of the West Indies Sugar Technologists in Barbados and the Annual Conference of the Jamaica Association of Sugar Technologists:


Cane Farming Viability within the proposed EU Price Reduction - C. Woolery

The influence of harvesting practices on sugar yields in Jamaica - P. A. E. Wright

Technologies for Reduced Tillage Machines - L. M. Agra, K. Chandon and P. White

An assessment of distillers’ waste application on soil quality and cane yields at Appleton Estate - C. G. Fearon

Factors influencing dextran levels in sugar at the Appleton Factory, Jamaica - P. A. E. Wright and D. Foster

Environmentally friendly methods for raw sugar analysis - M. R. Wilson

The Crop Review 2003/2004 - D. Little & J. Jaddoo



1.01      Engineering

1.1        Preventative Maintenance

            The Engineering Department continues to provide a preventative maintenance programme, based on non-destructive methods of testing, with the main objective of assisting factories to    reduce stoppages due to electrical and mechanical failure and to meet the industry standards for time utilization. The services provided included:

1.1.1.   Laser Alignment

            Laser alignment of steam turbines and alternators was effected at Bernard Lodge, Frome, St. Thomas Sugar Company, Trelawny Sugar Company and Appleton.

1.1.2.   Dynamic Balancing

Dynamic balancing of boiler fans and centrifugal baskets was carried out at all factories – Bernard Lodge, Frome, Monymusk, St. Thomas Sugar Company, Trelawny Sugar Company, Appleton and Worthy Park.

1.1.3.   Ultrasonic Thickness Testing

This service was utilized by St. Thomas Sugar Company and Worthy Park.

1.1.4.   Ultrasonic Flaw Detection

This was carried out at St. Thomas Sugar Company and Worthy Park.

1.1.5.   Vibration Measurements

A number of vibration measurements and analyses were carried out at Frome, Appleton and Worthy Park.

1.1.6.   Mill Tribology Study

The study, which is being carried out in collaboration with the University of Technology Engineering Department and Caribbean Casting (2001) Ltd, involved initially an investigation of the wear pattern of mill roller shells manufactured by the above company. It has been expanded to examining the arcing of mill rollers to improve throughput and extraction.


1.2.      Instrumentation

1.2.1.   Core Laboratories

The Instrumentation Department provided general maintenance, repair and calibration services to instruments from Core laboratories. An “Interface Data Capture” system was installed at all core laboratories although it was not utilized at the Bernard Lodge and Frome laboratories. Oven rooms were provided for the Long Pond and Appleton core laboratories and the Department assisted in the installation and calibration of an NIR system for dextran determination at the Appleton factory laboratory.

1.2.2.   Scales

The programme of upgrading truck scales at factories was continued with the installation of new Intalogic display units at some factories. Scale display units at Appleton, Bernard Lodge, St. Thomas Sugar Company and Marcus Garvey Sugar Warehouse were all upgraded with the installation of at least one Interlogic system at these sites. Installation of new display units will be completed during the 2004/05 harvesting season while those at Trelawny Sugar Company, Worthy Park and the Ocho Rios pier are slated for replacement after completion of the present crop.

All weighbridges in current use - at factories, warehouses, and the pier – were calibrated and certified by the Bureau of Standards. The scale at the Marcus Garvey Warehouse required considerable repair as the compound was flooded due to heavy rains resulting from the passage of hurricane Ivan in September.

Bagging scales at Bernard Lodge, Frome and St. Thomas Sugar Company were repaired and calibrated. The servo balans scale at the Ocho Rios pier had to be modified to correct for differences observed between weights at the outgoing and receiving ports; the overflow gate was replaced and a new cylinder and flexible hoses fitted.

The servo balans scale at St. Thomas Sugar Company was calibrated and made ready for operation for the 2004/05 crop.


1.2.3. Project at St. Thomas Sugar Company

          The Department was asked to provide assistance to this factory in its effort to increase its steam production and utilization. The Department installed a level control system on the No. 1    evaporator. The back – pressure makeup system and an automatic pressure reducing valve were repaired, calibrated and put into operation during the crop. A digital imbibition water meter was installed at the factory laboratory as well as a pH meter lime control system.

1.1.4.     Energy Study

A collaborative study on the possible use of woodchips as a fuel was undertaken by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) and the Institute in May 2004 at the Frome sugar factory. The main objective of the study was to determine how woodchips, provided by PCJ from its leuceana plot at Font Hill, would perform as a fuel. The study was not as comprehensive as originally planned but analysis of the data acquired (moisture content, calorific value, flue gas and furnace temperatures, steam output) indicated that woodchips could be successfully burned using bagasse combustion equipment and could be considered as a supplementary fuel to bagasse for sugar cane processing and power generation.


2.0.      Sugar Technology

2.1.      Factory Audits

Factory Audits were conducted at Appleton, Trelawny Sugar Company and Worthy Park. A check of instruments at all core laboratories confirmed that all instruments were in good working order. It was found that the data capture system was used on a continuous basis only at Worthy Park as at the other mills it was reported that the pace at which data capture occurred was unacceptably slow. The situation is to be corrected before the 2004/05 crop.

2.2.      Collaborative Cane Testing

Two sets of collaborative cane tests were conducted involving all core laboratories. The tests included all the analyses which the laboratories perform routinely – pol, brix, fibre analysis, purity, JRCS, TC/TS determinations. Staff of the Sugar Technology unit were present at selected core laboratories to ensure that all tests were carried out following the prescribed procedures. Based on the calculated standard deviations, the results at all the laboratories were within acceptable limits. Subsequent to the exercise, training seminars were conducted at all core laboratories so that laboratory staff could acquire a better understanding and appreciation of the purpose of these collaborative exercises.

2.3.      Mill Testing

Three mill tests were conducted at Worthy Park in March 2004. The values obtained for the cumulative extraction across the mill train (5 mills) varied between 95.2 and 96.7%.


3.0. Central Services

2.1.      Economics Department

2.1.1.   SIA Replanting Loan Programme.

The Department was given the responsibility for developing the protocol for implementing and disbursing a one hundred million Jamaican dollar( J$100,000,000) SIA Replanting Loan Programme for cane farmers. The funds, to be used on a revolving basis, were obtained from the Development Bank of Jamaica based on guarantees provided by the SIA. Some early set-backs were experienced due to protracted drought in the rain-fed areas, late start of the cropping season in some factory areas and a shortage of tillage equipment. However, at the end of the year, 403 applications had been approved amounting to J$92.19M to be used for replanting 1,450 hectares. The early indications are that the overall structure and administration of the programme have been well accepted by growers and the programme should achieve the desired objective of increasing the hectarage replanted annually.

2.2.      Central Analytical Laboratory

2.2.1.   The 20,500 samples submitted to the laboratory for analysis was less than the number that was submitted in the previous year, reflecting a general downturn in industry activity. Samples analysed included juice, sugar, molasses, leaf, soil and factory effluents.

2.2.2.   Reducing Sugar Analyses

Weekly analyses of export sugar samples were undertaken throughout the crop to determine if factories were adhering to the industry standard for reducing sugars which should be less than 0.50% (w/w). There was an improvement over the previous year when the industry average was 0.62% in respect of this parameter. However, the general trend was for an increase in reducing sugar levels as the crop progressed, leading to an industry average of 0.56%. 

2.2.3.   Quality Control Tests for Sugar Samples

A quality control system for the analysis of sugar samples was established during the year to meet one of the requirements of the ISO 17025 accreditation programme. This entailed preparation and analysis of reference samples against which all succeeding analyses were assessed. This exercise provides a means of evaluating the analytical methods being applied and indicates if the analytical procedures being used give results which are outside acceptable control limits and if corrective action is necessary.

2.2.4.   Polarization Measurements of Molasses

A study was undertaken to determine an acceptable method for polarization that would not involve the use of lead subacetate which is used as the clarification reagent in the current method. The study involved analysis of molasses samples obtained from three different factories and compared the polarization values obtained using lead subacetate, Octapol plus (a proprietary clarification reagent) as well as direct measurement by NIR polarimetry. Statistically, the three methods showed the same level of precision but there were significant differences in accuracy. The NIR method appears to be the more acceptable for replacing the method involving lead subacetate. The project will continue during 2005 and will be extended to include polarization measurements of massecuites and syrups.

2.2.5.   Dextran Determination

A comparative study on dextran analysis involving the Midland MCA Sucrotest and the Optical Activity DASA methods was conducted at Appleton factory. The main objective of the study was the evaluation of both methods under factory conditions to quantify the dextran levels in cane and so monitor the development of dextran in canes delivered to the factory. The time-consuming nature of the DASA method and the operating conditions required are limiting factors in its use. The Midland method is fairly quick and is hardly affected by environmental conditions but its inherent cost is a major deterrent. However, the results indicate that the accuracy of both methods is questionable.The results obtained from the DASA method appear to be inflated by inherent errors in the calculation of the dextran concentration; the Midland method appears to underestimate the dextran concentration. In addition, there is little correlation between the methods.Further study is required and will be undertaken during the next season.

2.2.6.   Dextran Audit.

An audit was conducted at Worthy Park to determine the reasons for apparent low sugar recovery. The latter was attributed to high levels of dextran associated with poor quality of incoming canes to the factory.


4.0.      Environmental Monitoring and Management

3.1.      Pollution Control Programme

Sampling and analyses of wastewater leaving all factories were conducted in accordance with the National Resources and Conservation Act (Section 17) 1991. The results for the parameters tested showed that, whereas factories were generally within the levels specified for inorganic constituents such as nitrates and sulphates , they were out of compliance with respect to other parameters such as Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), phosphates and Coliform bacteria.

3.2.      Programmes at Factories

           Two automatic valves were installed on both cane washing plants at Frome sugar factory to allow for the selective washing of canes. It is expected     that the efficient use of these valves should reduce considerably the volume of waste water emitted from the factory.

Plans to introduce a dry-cleaning method for canes coming into the factory were aborted as they were deemed unsuitable for the conditions normally prevailing at Frome.

3.3.      Environmental Code of Practice for the Sugarcane Industry 

The development of an Environmental Code of Practice (COP) for the industry, undertaken in the 2002/03 crop by the Institute in conjunction with the National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA), was continued during the year. The project was funded by the Environmental Action Programme (ENACT/NEPA) under the “Private Sector Clean Technology Project” and the SIA. The COP was developed out of a need for the industry to become compliant with environmental standards and is a voluntary initiative to bring industry operations in line with accepted environmental practices. The final draft of the COP is awaiting industry approval after which it will be implemented on a phased basis.

3.4.      Impending Regulations for the Industry

Two regulations – the Air Quality Regulation (June 2002) and the Sewage, Trade Effluent and Industrial Sludge Regulations – are due to be implemented and they will have a direct impact on the industry. The Air Quality Regulations will have direct consequences for those factories that continue to burn fuel oil. Entities will be required to have a licence to discharge and will pay discharge fees for burning fuel oil. However, since bagasse is a renewable fuel, factories that burn bagasse will be exempt from this requirement. Factories will be given one year in which to gather emission data to determine the need to be issued with a discharge licence. The latter will be based on the amount of fuel burnt and the sulphur content of the fuel.

The Sewage, Trade Effluent and Industrial Sludge Regulation is still at the draft stage but it is likely to be gazetted in 2005.




World sugar production in 2003/04 is estimated at 144.2M tonnes raw value, down from148.8M tonnes produced in 2002/03. Consumption is estimated at 142.8M tonnes raw value compared with the 143.6M tonnes consumed in 2002/03. This resulted in a surplus of 1.4M tonnes in 2003/04 compared with 8.9M tonnes in 202/03.


The lower output for the 2003/04 crop was as a result of smaller crops from the expanded European Union, India, China and Thailand and occurred despite a 3M tonnes improvement by Brazil.


During the year the Doha Round was put back on track following increased cooperation from the European Union and the U.S.A. in agreeing to a new framework. However, the dispute between the U.S.A. and Mexico over the 20% tax on HFCS sweeteners was not resolved.




In May 2004 the membership of the European Union (EU) increased from 15 to 25. The expansion involves mainly Eastern European countries of which eight were part of the USSR. They are the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.


In September 2004 The World Trade Organization (W.T.O) ruled that the European Union was illegally dumping millions of tonnes of subsidized sugar on the world market. The ruling followed a complaint from Brazil, Australia and Thailand accusing the EU of breaking trade rules by providing sugar exports subsidies in excess of W.T.O limits. The 1994 W.T.O Agriculture Agreement sets a quota of 1.3 mln tonnes for which the EU is allowed to pay subsidies.


The panel ruled that the EU had failed to prove that sugar above the quota was not getting government support, and therefore it should be considered as subsidized. It also ruled that illegal subsidies were being paid for the re-export of 1.6 mln tonnes of sugar bought mostly from the ACP countries, which enjoy preferential import tariffs in the EU. It ordered the EU to bring its measures into conformity with WTO rules. To avoid affecting the poor nations with preferential deals, it suggested this should be done by considering measures to bring its production of sugar more in line with domestic consumption.


The European Union immediately said that it would appeal the WTO dispute settlement body’s ruling against the EU’s sugar export regime. The outgoing EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said that the Commission was dissatisfied with the ruling and would appeal it. However, the appeal would not deter the EU from undertaking radical reform of its sugar regime. Fischler said such a reform would make the EU sugar sector more competitive and trade-friendly. The EU proposed a massive reduction in its intervention price of EUR 623.00 per tonne falling in stages to EUR 423.00 per tonne by 2007/08. The Commission’s draft paper suggested that the reduction should start as early as 2005/06.


The proposals were met with strong resistance from some EU Member States and the ACP countries. According to the ACP countries the proposals for the reform of the sugar regime would have devastating consequences for their economies. In addition the severity of the price cuts, the time frame for their implementation and the dismantling of the intervention mechanism as proposed were totally unacceptable because they were tantamount to a breach of the long-standing preferential arrangement enshrined in the ACP-EU Sugar Protocol. At a meeting in Brussels in October 2004, ACP representatives prepared an official response to the European Commissions proposal to reform its sugar regime. In their response to the Commission’s proposals, the representatives insisted that the EU respect its commitments on the ‘three guarantees of price, access and indefinite duration.


The ACP group rejected the commencement of price cuts in 2005. They believe that a longer period of adjustment is necessary and indicated that a more appropriate time for the commencement would be 2008 when there would be greater clarity in the international sugar environment. The ACP group also reaffirmed its assertion that losses due to price cuts should be compensated for with an automatic and predictable mode of disbursement and that such compensation should be simple, timely and recurrent. The group further proposed that a Competitiveness Fund be established by the EU to aid the restructuring of the ACP sugar industries.




Brazil’s dominance of the sugar industry has become overwhelming and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. It has almost limitless land available to produce cane and, following its success at the WTO, it intends to increase production significantly to fill the gap left by falling EU exports.

The WTO ruling that much of the EU’s export were illegally subsidised is expected to be confirmed in March 2005 despite the appeal that is expected from the European Commission.


The second formal estimates for 2004/05 place raw sugar production at 142.5 mln tonnes and consumption at 145.6 mln tonnes. This would result in a gap of approximately 3M tonnes.

Average raw sugar prices have increased from 9.84 UScents/lb in October 2004 to 10.32 UScents/lb in January 2005 as a result of a number of factors:


Firstly, the fall in the value of the US dollar (sugar is a US dollar denominated commodity) which lost 4.8% against the Brazilian Real between October and December 2004.


Secondly, strong demand from India, Pakistan, Russia and China and relatively poor crops in Cuba and Thailand,


Thirdly, there is a belief that the rise in price is not enough to trigger great expansion in sugar-producing countries other than Brazil. Further, it is felt that the higher demand for ethanol, especially in Brazil, will be at the expense of sugar, further tightening supply. This mixture has prompted speculative funds to turn their attention to sugar, promising where huge gains can be made.




Production Area                     Tonnes (M)

Europe                                          28.9

Africa                                           10.0

North & Central America              19.9

South America                              35.8

Asia                                              41.9

Oceania                                          6.0

Total                                          142.5          





POST                                                   TOTAL                                           REMARKS        


CONTRACT OFFICERS                                                                                  


1.             Executive Chairman                               4,900,000                                Plus Gratuity and Motor Vehicle

2.             Director of Research, SIRI                     2,722,080                                Plus Gratuity, Motor Vehicle & Lunch Allowance

3.             Director, Finance & Administration      2,778,578                                Plus Gratuity, Motor Vehicle & Lunch Allowance

4.             Factory Services Manager, SIRI            2,520,000                                Plus Gratuity, Motor Vehicle & Lunch Allowance



1.             Agricultural Services Manager, SIRI     2,752,315                                 Plus Motor Vehicle & Lunch Allowance

2.             Information & Planning Manager          2,054,294                                 Plus Motor Vehicle & Lunch Allowance

3.             Head, Extension Services, SIRI              2,127,861                                Plus Motor Vehicle & Lunch Allowance