BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – A collaboration between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) aims to improve the availability of data to guide evidence-based decisions about the future of sugar in CARICOM.
CDB will provide a grant of US$97,488 to fund a technical study on the substitutability of plantation white for refined sugar in the region’s manufacturing sector. The findings will enhance the capacity of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) to make decisions on the CARICOM sugar regime, and will also contribute to a broader exercise being undertaken by the Customs Committee of the COTED to comprehensively review the Common External Tariff, to facilitate the transition to the free circulation of goods and a more modernised application of rule of origin.
CDB director of projects, Daniel Best noted, “We import two-thirds of the estimated 320,000 tonnes of the refined sugar consumed annually within CARICOM. If plantation white can be substituted for refined white sugar, regional producers can capture a larger share of the sugar market, and the region can save considerable foreign exchange. The findings of this study will provide, therefore, data needed to make critical investment decisions for the sugar industry.”
Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica, four sugar-producing countries in the CSME, account for an average of ten percent of earnings from sugar exports. In Belize, Guyana and Jamaica, the industry is also a major employer in rural communities, providing an average of 16,000 direct jobs.
The project is consistent with CDB’s objectives of supporting agriculture and rural development and promoting evidence-based policymaking as a tenet of good governance. It is also in keeping with the bank’s technical assistance policy and operational strategy.