On the IMF’s latest ‘recommendations’

A version of an email I recently sent to a commentator whose column ran in the Gleaner. You may find the article here: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060917/cleisure/cleisure3.html.

Further these opinions expressed have their genesis in conversations I’ve had with my dad, his friends, my grandfather as well as my own observations.

Trying to be more consistent wit this blogging business, bear with me.

Quite right that the IMF’s prescription is the old & tired. However, as it concerns the sugar industry, I tend to agree that ethanol production is not the way to either rejuvenate or rescue the sugar industry. While it is true that we need to decrease our dependence on oil given the swirling issues of ownership re: oil fields, etc…, our sugar industry needs more practical improvements and diversification than what ethanol production offers.

Most importantly our sugar industry needs to be mechanized to make it more efficient. We cannot continue to depend on manual labour to plant and reap sugar cane especially as countries like Brazil and even the United States have efficient and stable sugar industries organized around a mechanized process. As it is now, our inefficiencies in this area are costing us too much in the overall production of sugar cane. Furthermore, I think that such a mechanization will help to increase the skill set of the labour force thereby improving our human resources.

Secondly we need to start refining sugar ourselves – completely. Not this two-bit process that we have now that necessitates us actually importing sugar back into our markets. Such a development in the industry can be used a first step into creating a much-needed manufacturing sector in Jamaica, and would have the long-term implication of bolstering and diversifying our entire economy, which you must admit cannot survive much longer on the foundations of an externally oriented structure (and this includes tourism).

These simultaneous moves to mechanize the industry and refine the sugar reaped ourselves can also be a stepping stone and/or blueprint for mechanizing our entire agricultural sector, which is again in dire straits.

I only bring these points up not to disagree with the goal of having cars in Jamaica running on ethanol but to show that while ethanol production is favourable option to pursue, it cannot and will not succeed if we don’t fix the underlying processes associated with its production. O and while we’re at it, the transportation sector needs to be streamlined so that an efficient service alternative is offered to driving one’s car so that our dependence on oil imports is further lessened.
Current mood: wondering at my rumbling tummy
Sounds: KTU 103.5!!


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