166th Meeting of the Board of Directors – 25/26th May, 2017, Barbados
Members of the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) met on 25th and 26th May 2017 in Barbados, for their 166th Board of Directors Meeting.
SAC Sugar Production 2016/2017
The Directors of SAC meeting was held at the close of the Barbados crop which was impacted by irregular weather. The other SAC members also experienced a similar situation resulting in reduced sugar production this year. Projected production for 2016/17 is 406,000 tonnes.
West Indies Central Cane Sugarcane Breeding Station (Inc.)
WICSCBS is now fully functional as a separate entity. With new members and an injection of additional funding, this world class cane breeding facility is now in an expansion mode in its breeding programme.
Extra-Regional Exports 2016-2017
Projected exports to the European Union for this year are 195,000 tonnes. In light of changing market condition in the EU both Guyana and Belize have begun exporting some bagged sugar to this market.
SAC continues as a reliable supplier to the US market by maximising its quota allocation. Members ship the full amount whose value is currently higher than that obtained in the EU.
The members of SAC continue with their efforts to supply the regional market with both brown and white sugar. In the case of brown sugar, members, Guyana, Jamaica and Belize have been supplying the region with brown sugar for domestic consumption. Intra-regional trade for 2016-2017 is projected at 26,000 tonnes,
In the case of white sugar, plantation white is classified as refined sugar. Belize has for a number of years been producing and supplying processors in that country, including soft drink manufacturers, with this product, such that no refined sugar is imported. Belize has expressed interest in increasing production of this product to meet CARICOM market needs, while Jamaica and Guyana have stated their intention to produce this sugar in the very near future.
SAC urged the CARICOM Secretariat to make best efforts to ensure that the application of 40 per cent Common External Tariff on extra regional brown sugar is adhered to by all member States.
Health concerns about sugar
Members discussed the attacks by uninformed groups and persons that sugar is toxic, and therefore, unhealthy. SAC members noted that there is no science based evidence to these attacks and that studies carried out in other countries pointed to the fact that unhealthy lifestyles, and not sugar, is main cause of obesity.