Now we learn that foreign company's, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (Trinidad Express Article), are showing interest in buying the physical assets of the Sugar Manufacturing Company Ltd (SMCL). Why? It is simple my friends, there is a demand for sugar and now Cola companies are using and bragging about the taste of good ole cane sugar in their drinks. Everyone is going green and want to get back to the original natural ingredients to encourage "organic sales".
The PNM government claimed that Caroni 1975 limited was a drain on the treasury to the tune of about $200 million dollars per year while spending billions on office structures that make no money and no sense whatever. Instead they chose to close the industry and make us dependant of other countries for sugar. So instead of being a producer and exporter of sugar we became an importer of a product that we produced.
Rum production depends of molasses so now we have to import that too. Indeed there is still sugarcane in production for 10Cane rum that is produced in St. Madeline but we should not depend on anyone for sugar - sugarcane is a renewable asset - that is a no brainer. We should have found new ways to cut cost and boost production by implimentation of new techniques including the use of new technologies for production and use of the entire product - nothing should be wasted!
So what has happened that there is now interest in Trinidad's Sugarcane industry and assets? Well the price of sugar has gone up tremendously and this started just after the PNM government closed down the industry. We can still benefit from this natural renewable asset. However, this should all be done by way of private enterprise. The government should not be involved in the production of sugar. The government should continue to encourage people to diversify the industry to benefit the country. It would create employment and people who used to cultivate sugarcane could still benefit from the production of sugarcane. It should not be difficult for those who planted sugarcane on private lands to do so again. Encourage the foreigners and local entrepreneurship to invest in the production of Sugarcane for sugar production and other downstream industries. We can do it; we can reinvent this industry but do it through private investments.
We can produce Sugar and many food products for consumption and not spend valuable foreign revenue for sugar and sugar byproducts. Then there is the demand for bio fuels. Bio-ethanol is in demand and we should seek to produce this fuel. Oil and gas are not renewable assets however sugarcane is a renewable asset. We need to think about the future and diversify now to deal with the chaos that would come when we run out of our petroleum assets.