BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, – A Japanese delegation is due here on Monday for talks with Agriculture Minister Dr. David Estwick on the possibility of funding the restructuring of the sugar cane industry.

A government statement said that the delegation from the Japanese company Marubeni Corporation have expressed an interest in funding the project.

It said the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation, (BCIC) with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, is in the process of implementing the project which aims to convert the existing sugar sector into a sugar cane and renewable energy industry.

“This new thrust will result in the processing of over 330,000 tonnes of sugar cane to produce 15,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 12,000 tonnes of refined sugar and 24,000 tonnes of molasses, the statement said, adding “in addition to the bagasse by-product from the processing of sugar cane, a further 150,000 tonnes of River Tamarind biomass will be used to generate over 170,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity”.

The facilities are expected to come on stream in January, 2016.

BCIC project manager Carl Simpson said that the proposed funding for the project would be delivered in two phases.

“The first phase of field improvement and factory transition will ensure that the agricultural requirements for the Cane Industry Restructuring Project are achieved. Support funds will be supplied to sugar cane growers to assist with farming improvements and to encourage an improvement in national sugar cane production levels.

“The first phase of funding will also pay for the temporary upgrade of the transition factory at Portvale, fund the Portvale Factory operations during the transition periods 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 and continue the research and development of the River Tamarind and other biomass materials.”

He said the second phase will be that of factory refurbishment and will support a multi-purpose facility at the existing Andrews Sugar Factory site which will also house bulk storage and packaging facilities.

“The expanded and refurbished facility will meet international food grade and environmental standards and allow for cogeneration of heat and electricity in a 25 megawatts base load power generating plant,” Simpson said, adding that planning for the project was at the stage of final outline design and preliminary capital estimates for both phases.

source: caribbean360

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