Sugar shortage: Uitvlugt factory produces nearly 100 tonnes of sugar

Bagging of 50kg/110lb Genuine Demerara Cane Sugar at Uitvlugt Factory

In a move to address the apparent shortage of sugar in the country, the Uitvlugt Estate factory last week ramped up its production and according to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), the entity has commenced bagging operations and has so far accumulated some 2000 bags of sugar (100 tonne) to be distributed locally.

Citizens have been complaining of the apparent shortage of sugar on the local market, something which has persisted for some two months. The situation has resulted in some retailers who have sugar in stock increasing their prices.

On Friday, GuySuCo said that Uitvlugt Estate commenced its bagging operations on Thursday. In fact, it has already accumulated close to 2000 bags of Genuine Demerara Cane Sugar (50kg/110lb bag).

“The Estate is progressing swiftly to maintain its bagging operations throughout the weekend and the following weeks. The Estate’s management continues to work diligently to ensure grinding operations remain steady and encourage all workers to strive towards achieving set weekly sugar production targets,” a missive from the sugar company detailed.

Earlier this week, workers attached to Uitvlugt staged a picketing exercise outside the estate calling on GuySuCo to honour the Holiday With Pay (HWP) entitlement for the first crop of 2022 to workers.

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and GuySuCo were slated to meet on Friday to discuss the issue but the meeting was postponed after the Union indicated the unavailability of one of their key personnel.

Nevertheless, the GuySuCo Executive Management congratulated the Uitvlugt Team on their progress and “express gratitude for the continued efforts towards the Estate’s success despite the challenges.”

It was announced last week that the Uitvlugt factory was gearing up to begin producing 1000 bags of sugar per day as a direct response to the apparent sugar shortage.

Last week, GuySuCo said that the Uitvlugt Estate factory team has successfully completed machinery and steam trials with the installation of a new gearbox, a critical part of the factory’s operations. This is to gear the factory up to produce 1000 bag of sugar per day.

The Uitvlugt factory has been out of operation since March of this year after a mechanical issue was detected, forcing the estate to call off its first crop for 2022. The issue has since been rectified.

A senior GuySuCo official had told this publication last week that the sugar corporation had taken a decision to only sell sugar to three categories of users: supermarkets, bakeries, and manufacturers.

While the local shops may not have had access to the commodity for resale, the official insisted that the supermarkets have access to the product.

However, when the Uitvlugt Estate resumes sugar production at 1000 bags a day, the goal is to restart the sale of sugar to wholesalers.

Moreover, it was noted that when drier weather prevails, the Uitvlugt factory can produce 2000 bags of sugar per day.

“And Guyana don’t use more than 3000 bags of sugar a week,” the official pointed out.
At this point when the sale of sugar is resumed to wholesalers, it is the hope of GuySuCo that they service the local market first.

“The Corporation has to be careful because our mandate is to supply to Guyana…once [we start] reselling to wholesalers from next week, what the wholesalers do with it, that’s out of our control,” the official explained.

When asked about the widespread reports of a sugar shortage, the official revealed that GuySuCo had found out that some wholesalers have been buying the commodity in bulk and sending it to Venezuela, where it is sold for higher prices.

“It’s not a suspicion,” the official contended. It was disclosed that on June 5, 2022, some 2000 50kg bags of sugar were shipped to the North West District (NWD) – a region which reportedly does not consume that much sugar.

“Region One has a population of 26,000…Georgetown has a population of about 90,000 people and they don’t use so much sugar in a week,” the official reasoned. “So, what are they doing with the sugar?”

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has since warned that any supplier hoarding sugar in a bid to increase the price for the commodity would be dealt with accordingly.

In a recent social media post, GuySuCo said that the price for a 50kg bag of sugar is $9900. This publication understands that anyone desirous of purchasing sugar can do so directly at GuySuCo, but the minimum number of bags to be bought is 50.