[www.inewsguyana.com] – In his budget presentation on Friday, August 21, Agricultural Minister, Noel Holder stated that all can attest to the state of the sugar industry, pointing out that it is not the first time it has been in distress.
But he expressed optimism that the industry will be able to recover.
“Guysuco will recover and 2015 will mark a turning point in the performance of Guysuco. We have made major changes in management and have also identified the members of the New Board of Directors which took control from July 1”.
Over $12 billion will be invested in the industry in 2015 and giving an overview of the sector, Minister Holder said, “It is not an understatement to say that Skeldon has not functioned to expectation. However, we are of the view that with the completion of the work of the Commission of Inquiry, recommendations made will enable us to address some of the pressing issues affecting the industry”.
According to Holder, the government will continue to build the sugar industry to continue its role as “a lead industry” in the country and it will work with the sugar workers to ensure that the industry continues to provide employment, economic and social gains for the people and the country.
Minister Holder stressed that the perilous state of the sugar industry must not be under-estimated.
“It is not business as usual and a major re-structuring of the industry is an essential pre-requisite for its survival. We await the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry”.
It was explained that Guysuco anticipates a production of 146,300 tonnes for the current crop which the Minister said would take production for the year to just over 227,000 tonnes.
“Despite some setbacks occasioned by inclement weather, the Corporation is focusing all its efforts to achieve this target. All estates have commenced operation and the initial yields have been encouraging. Worker turnout has been improving and this trend, if maintained, augers well for the remainder of the crop,” he said, adding, “Major challenges remain at Skeldon and the East Demerara estates where there is the greatest concentration on mechanization”.