Guyana pumps billions into state-owned sugar company

07.12.2017

The Guyana government says it has provided G$32 billion to the state-owned sugar company, GUYSUCO, since coming to office in 2015.

Agriculture Minister Noel Holder told the National Assembly on Tuesday that the David Granger government is also providing the corporation with G$6.3 billion in 2018 and a further G$2.3 billion in 2019.

Holder told legislators that while a G$12 billion capital investment will be required over the next three years to ensure that the sugar production targets are met, there has not been any positive impact on the financial state of the Guyana Sugar Company, noting that the economy cannot afford this.

“The corporation commenced the implementation of the plans for the sugar industry as set out in the State Paper. The plans call for three estates Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt to continue with its canes and sugar operations. Skeldon will be divested, Rose Hall Providence and Enmore are to be divested or diversified and Wales is scheduled for diversification.”

Holder said Uitvlugt cane farmers will account for over 50 per cent of the canes supplied to the factory and every effort will be made to increase in this proportion.

“With improvements in productivity, cane yields are expected to rise from the current levels of 55 tonnes cane per hectare to 78.43 tonnes cane per hectare in 2018, a 41 per cent increase.”

Holder also told legislators that in a bid to further counteract the effects of the changes in the European Union (EU) sugar regime, GUYSUCO is looking to produce plantation white sugar for marketing into the local, Caribbean Community (CARICOM,) and United States markets.

He said with other CARICOM sugar-producing countries also planning on producing plantation white sugar, the strategy is to displace the importation of refined sugar regionally.

He said Guyana would be filing an application for a Common External Tariff (CET) on extra-regional refined sugar in this regard.

Holder said the unit costs of production is expected to decrease to US$0.25 cents per cubic pound of sugar and that there are a number of cost saving initiatives which have been identified to assist in lowering the unit cost of production even further.

He said a feasibility study on cogeneration at Albion and Uitvlugt funded by the European Union has indicated that cogeneration at both estates is a viable option with the excess power being sold to the national grid.

He said another EU-funded study that is examining transitioning down-sized employees to becoming farmers is well advanced. The results of this study will be of benefit to those severed employees who have expressed willingness to transition into farming on lands leased to them by the Corporation.


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