Barbados Agricultural Management Company
The Barbadian sugar industry has traditionally been owned and managed by the private sector. In 1960, when production levels were at their highest and the industry was profitable, 50 000 acres were harvested annually with over 100 individual plantations, more than 10 000 small farms and 16 small sugar factories. In the 1970’s, mainly as a result of the declining profitability of cane growing, there was a 15% decrease in the land planted to cane. The 1980’s saw a further 15% drop in area harvested annually to 34 300 acres. As cane production declined factories were forced to close. Down to nine factories by the end of the 1970’s, further reduced to five by 1989, and to two by 2011.
Sugar an ideal crop
The climate and soils of Barbados are better suited to sugarcane production than most other crops. The sugar industry played a pivotal role in the economy, particularly before the expansion of the tourism and service sectors.
Booker Tate’s management role
Booker Tate in its management role implemented major objectives for restructuring the sugar sector. The physical and economic reorganisation of both factory and field operations resulted in cost savings and greater productivity. Booker Tate also introduced new planning and budgeting techniques, a human resources IT package and staff training and development programmes.
Barbados is the wealthiest and most developed country in the Eastern Caribbean and enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. In this context, the economics of sugar production make the survival of a sugar industry on the island tenuous.
Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about four-fifths of GDP and of exports being attributed to services. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centres and a relatively highly educated workforce.
- 1957 Sugar production peaks at 204 0000 ts/y
- 1992 Sugar production drops to 54 000 ts/y
- 1992 Booker Tate contracted to undertake strategic review of the sugar industry
- 1993 Booker Tate contracted to provide management services for BAMC plantations and factories
- 1998 Booker Tate carries out Single Factory Study
- 2000 Government Task Force report on sugar industry published
- 2000 Booker Tate’s role changes from management services to technical services
- 2004 June 2004 – end of Booker Tate contract