|Grinding sugar canes at the Barrackpore sugar factory|
On Friday a privately-owned sugar factory began grinding canes to produce sugar and its by products for the local market. The factory is located at Rochard-Douglas Road, Barrackpore.
Mungal Singh, one of the owners of the factory, told JYOTI he has a commitment from farmers to provide canes for grinding at the factory, which has a capacity of about 100 tonnes per day. In theory, if high quality canes are ground at the factory the production could be as high as 10 tonnes of sugar a day.
Singh said he has guaranteed markets for the sugar that his factory would be producing. He also has committed buyers for the by products - bagasse, molasses and the mud press that emerges during the filtration process of the cane juice.
Famers who spoke with JYOTI said they are happy to get back into the sugar business, which they said can be profitable if managed effectively.
The Barrackpore factory will operate with minimal staff and low overheads. It is owned by the Singh family and represents an investment of "several million dollars" Singh told JYOTI. He did not give a final figure, noting that the factory would require additional funding.
Sugar was once the main contributor to the national economy and was initially owned by private companies. In 1975 the state acquired the industry and established Caroni (1975) Limited. The company existed on state subsidy amounting to more than one million dollars a day and was eventually closed by the Manning PNM administration in 2003.
A limited amount of sugar production continued at the St Madeline factory until 2006 with farmers supplying the canes.
At the time of the closure of Caroni (1975) Limited, farmers were suppling about 40 per cent of the canes needed to produce sugar. The company had assets valued at over one billion dollars and about 77,000 acres of arable lands.
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