GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 9, 2017 (CMC) – The government has announced plans to scale back on sugar production with the closure of some factories.
The announcement was made, yesterday, by Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, as he presented a “State Paper on the future of the Sugar Industry”, in parliament.
He disclosed that the government will retain only three factories and take over health and drainage and irrigation services offered by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), all aimed at producing, annually, a targeted 147,000 tonnes of the sweetener at a profitable price.
According to Holder, the government has also started the process of soliciting Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the divestment of the state-of-the-art Skeldon Sugar Factory, because GuySuCo cannot afford the amount of monies required to fix that facility.
According to Holder, the monies from Skeldon would help to bail out the cash-strapped and debt-burdened state-owned corporation.
“Funds generated from the divestment of Skeldon Estate will go towards reducing the Corporation’s debt and supporting its capital programs for both sugar and the diversification initiatives,” he said.
The government proposes that sugar production should be contracted to approximately 147,000 tonnes of sugar, annually, produced from Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt Estates, to satisfy the demand in the local markets, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) the United States and the world market.
The administration said focus would be on producing for direct consumption, value-added sugars and providing electricity to the national grid (co-generation).
The State, as the sole owner of GuySuCo, according to Holder, “will retain as many workers needed for all operations of the merged estates and factories.
Holder also disclosed that GuySuCo’s sugar operations will be limited to the Albion-Rosehall, Wales-Uitvlugt, and Blairmont factories with the aim of producing, annually, 174,000 tonnes of sugar.
He said the Albion and Rose Hall estate’s cultivation will be amalgamated and will result in the closure of the Rose Hall factory, at the end of this year, with some of the lands being made available for diversification.
The Enmore factory will close at the end of the year, when all cane would have been harvested, while the East Coast Estates have been earmarked for diversification.