– as Berbice estates surpass production target
Final preperations are being made to the Rose Hall Sugar Estate in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), as it will be making a comeback by mid-September to recommence sugar production.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) on Saturday made the announcement, stating, “Additionally, all hands are on deck to complete the final adjustments to the Rose Hall factory as the corporation prepares to commence grinding of sugar in mid-September 2023.”
The Government’s efforts to reopen the Rose Hall Estate saw a whopping $1.1 billion being expended this year to have the facility up and running. A summary of the major works included both civil and structural interventions – including rehabilitation of the cane gantry, pre-milling, milling, boiler and process house roofing. There was also the replacement of a vacuum pan, condenser structures, a chimney, and servicing of all equipment.
The Rose Hall facility is one of four estates that was closed by the APNU/AFC coalition after it took office. Back in 2016, the former Government closed the Wales Estate, and the following year, shut down the Enmore, Rose Hall, and Skeldon Estates, putting over 7000 sugar workers on the breadline. The downsizing of the sugar industry resulted in only the Uitvlugt, Blairmont, and Albion Estates in operation.
After taking office in 2020, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had announced in the Emergency Budget presented in September 2020, that some $5 billion would be injected into the sugar industry for the phased reopening of the closed estates.
Since then, sizeable allocations have been made to return the sector to its former glory. GuySuCo was allocated a further $2 billion in Budget 2021 by the PPP/C Government for capital works to be undertaken at the various estates to help in the turnaround of the sugar industry. Then last year, GuySuCo received $1 billion in supplementary funds from the Government.
Also on Saturday, GuySuCo revealed that the Albion/Port Mourant Estate and Blairmont Estate have leveraged the good weather conditions over the last seven days to surpass their weekly sugar production target for the second crop of 2023.
Having surpassed the first crop production target earlier this year, the second crop target is expected to push the annual production over 60,000 metric tonnes. The Berbice Grinding Estates ended the week with a production increase of 12 per cent.
According to GuySuCo, it is reassuring that the respective teams on the estates have harnessed a number of strategies to boost the results and potential to turn around the sugar industry. They have been utilising new equipment bought by the Guyana Government since December 2020.
“These operational interventions, coupled with good weather played a major role in allowing the two estates to surpass their weekly target. This good news will boost the income from the members of the sugar fraternity in Berbice as all the workers at those estates will secure additional remuneration with the weekly performance incentive.”
Estate Manager Yudhisthira Mana at Albion/Port Mourant operations underscored that the achievement was possible due to the better turnout of workers. The cane quality has also been better when compared to 2022 crops.
The estate team is continuing its visits to the villages to keep workers and their families updated on the opportunities in the industry. One such visit was conducted recently in the villages of Manchester, Lancaster and Liverpool with the workers’ union.
Qualified workers, who operated 80 per cent or more days for that week will benefit from another weekly production incentive scheme, which allows tax-free incentives when an estate achieves its weekly production target.
Urging all grinding estates to strive towards achieving the weekly production incentive, GuySuCo added, “The Executive Management also implores workers to remain focused and committed to consistently achieving their weekly targets, as every effort is being made to support the efforts collectively to exploit the opportunity with the better weather during this period.
GuySuCo was allocated $4 billion in the 2023 budget to begin construction of the Albion Sugar Packaging Plant and to expand the capacity of the Blairmont Packaging Plant among other significant undertakings, which will increase the value-added capacity of the sugar company. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration has invested more than $10 billion in the plant and equipment, rehabilitated cane fields at all factory locations, and fostered private-sector partnerships to increase land under cultivation in the sugar industry.