Non-functioning Uitvlugt mill: Factory should be up and running for 2nd crop

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Uitvlugt Sugar Estate

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has assured that the Uitvlugt Sugar Estate factory will be up and running in time for the second crop of 2022, with the parts necessary for the factory expected to arrive in Guyana later this month.

This was announced in a statement GuySuCo released on Wednesday, in which it was explained that the latest update the company has received from the manufacturer in Texas, United States pertaining to the components needed for the factory indicated that they would be transported to Guyana by air in late May.

“The local engineering teams are on standby to effect the installation immediately upon receipt and the factory should be in a state of readiness for the commencement of the Second Crop of 2022,” GuySuCo explained.

This statement came after workers at Uitvlugt sugar factory expressed concerns about their future, given the fact that they were not getting work.

GuySuCo, in its statement, explained that after President Dr Irfaan Ali had offered workers six days of work per week at the Uitvlugt Community Center, it had immediately complied with this beginning with the affected sugar workers who presented themselves to work from the week ending April 23.

“In the Agriculture Department, workers were offered planting, manual weeding, chemical spraying, sideline and cross canal cleaning, fertilising, carpentry works, machine and punt repairs among other tasks.”

GuySuCo explained that the workers were offered work associated with the factory’s out-of-crop maintenance programme, including repairs to carriers, pumps, juice heaters, gear boxes, vacuum pans and the factory roof.

Back in February, it was announced that an award-winning London-based vodka producer, One True Maverick (OTM), was looking to expand operations to Guyana and expressed interest in the Uitvlugt Sugar Estate for the potential establishment of an ethanol plant.

OTM co-founder James Luwagga was among a group of United Kingdom business representatives who visited Guyana earlier in the year as part of the “British Business Mission” to network with both local Private Sector and Government officials as they scoped out opportunities for potential investment here.

The delegation was hosted by London-based The Caribbean Council, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the British High Commission’s Department for International Trade.

Uitvlugt Estate once housed the Guyana Distillers Limited (GDL), which produced vodka. GDL was merged with DDL and the stills were sent to DDL, but the expertise is still available.

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has been looking to make strategic investments at Albion, Blairmont, and Uitvlugt Estates. In fact, this year, particular focus will be placed on upgrading and mechanising aspects of operations at those estates while expanding packaging capabilities to produce more value-added products for domestic and international markets.

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, during the Budget 2022 presentation, disclosed that “…$6 billion [has been allocated] to support GuySuCo’s ongoing investment in field and factory operations to turn around the industry, while we continue to consider the possibility of engaging private investor interest also in some of the estates”.

Further, President Ali had subsequently hinted at Government’s efforts to encourage private investments in the sugar industry.

“It will create more jobs. Not only more jobs, but more jobs at a technical level if we are to increase our production. It will expand our production,” President Ali said during an analysis of the $552.9 billion Budget 2022 which was passed in the National Assembly in February.