GuySuCo to miss 90,000-tonne production target due to weather conditions

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The entire week of rainfall at the beginning of November is being blamed for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) potentially missing its production target of 90,000 tonnes sugar.

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation, Sasenarine Singh, on Monday stated that the unprecedent rainfall is to be blamed for the potential miss in the production target, and added that GuySuCo intends to work around the clock to recover from that loss.

“Even if the weather going forward is good, it would be difficult for GuySuCo to surpass 90,000 tonnes in 2020. That was a real possibility at the end of September 2020, and after the November rains, it blew away that opportunity and we have at best three weeks left.

So far, we have about 80,670 tonnes of sugar produced, and we are pushing to have (90,000) by the end of the three weeks (remaining for the crop),” Singh said.

He explained that the sugar workers are working beyond the call of duty to ensure that as much sugar is produced as is possible.

Singh related that due to the rains, the Corporation lost the opportunity to produce almost $354 million in sugar across the three functional estates – Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, and Rose Hall and Blairmont in Berbice.

“This is a serious situation, because that is $354 million that we could have been using to invest in the sugar industry and pursue the 2021 plan. So, this situation is heart-rending since it affected the approximately 8,800 sugar workers, but we have accepted it and we are planning for 2021, to ensure that we do not lose the available opportunity days,” he said.

He noted that one of the biggest challenges that GuySuCo has been facing for the past five years is that its opportunity days in tillage have now moved from about 120 days per year to about 70 days a year. That means that the Corporation needs to work extra hard and around the clock on those days in an effort to achieve its tillage programme and increase yield.

In an effort to ensure that maximum use is made of the favourable days, the Corporation needs to ensure it has the right equipment for the job, according to the CEO.

“If GuySuCo does not have the right equipment in the field at the start of the first crop in February 2021, then this entire 2021 plan to produce 97,000 tonnes of sugar in 2021 is in clear and present danger. If we do not have the right tilling machines in February, then the reopening of the Rose Hall Estate and the Enmore Estate in 2022 is also in clear and present danger,” he warned.

Back in 2016, the former APNU/AFC closed the Wales Estate, and, the following year, shut down the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon estates, putting over 7,000 sugar workers on the breadline. The downsizing of the sugar industry saw only the Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion estates being in operation. The assets of the closed estates were put under the control of the Special Purpose Unit of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) for divestment.

The Corporation is eyeing the reopening of Enmore and Rose Hall estates by 2022. It is expected that the Rose Hall factory would be the first to become operational, while the Skeldon factory would be returned to operation by 2023. The Wales Factory would be divested.