GUYANA: Sugar: Woeful GuySuCo produced a meagre 58,025 tons of sugar for 2021

NOTE: In 2019, it was reported that the last time sugar production fell below 100,000 tonnes was in 1926, 94 years ago. In 2019, GuySuCo managed to produce some 92,246 tonnes of sugar to be sold on the local, regional and international markets. Now in 2021, the production is even lower at 58,025 tonnes.

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Dec 25, 2021- Kaieteur News – The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) produced 30,865MT less of sugar when compared with 2020, according to a preliminary report released by the corporation on Friday, December 24, 2021

Based on the report, GuySuCo’s pre-audited production stands at 58,025MT of sugar in 2021 compared to 88,890MT in 2020.

Despite the significant shortfall, the Corporation said it met all the needs of the local market for 2021. It was explained that the shortfall was a result of the loss of some 35 percent of the standing cane during the 2nd Crop of 2021 due to the flood.         

FLOOD DAMAGE

“At Albion, where 50 percent of the production was programmed to be made, the mortality rate for the standing canes planned to be harvested for the 1st Crop of 2022 is estimated at 80 percent due to the floods. On the Berbice Estates where more than 77 percent% of the production is made, the rainfalls in 2021 were 72 percent more than the previous year,” GuySuCo detailed, while noting that it drained some 4.5 million tonnes of water off the land daily during the 65-day flood.

GuySuCo’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sasenarine Singh expressed satisfaction with the performance of the corporation.

CEO Sasenarine Singh

“Despite the challenges from the unprecedented floods, the worst in 40 years on the sugar belt, GuySuCo was able to soldier on and continue production soon after these devastating floods to beat the prediction in September 2021 that the industry will not pass the 50,000 MT mark. GuySuCo pre-audit production as at December 23, 2021, is 58,025 MT,” the CEO said in the report.

According to him, the agriculture team was able to strategise and re-focus on rehabilitating the damaged fields.
“Some 4,300 hectares of sugar canes were destroyed across the industry (this land is equivalent to over 52,000 house lots) and the industry was able to rehabilitate some 38 percent of those damaged cultivation in 2021,” he detailed.

Describing the sugar workers as champions, he said, they worked tirelessly across the sugar belt to drain the 4.5 million tonnes of water from the flooded lands during the flood.
“This herculean effort allowed the industry to save the remaining surviving cane and secure a 2nd Crop for 2022,” he added.

Having met its obligations of the local brown sugar market for 2021, GuySuCo said it will have enough brown sugar in its bond until Valentine’s Day 2022, when the factories are expected to recommence grinding.

“GuySuCo has launched into a forward-looking marketing strategy that is advancing the sale of value added packaged sugar (Demerara Gold and Enmore Crystals brands) with the primary focus being the local and CARICOM markets. The Corporation’s strategy is to move the industry away from the EU bulk market that procures sugar at an average price of US$400 per MT when compared to US$600 MT in the Caribbean market,” the Senior Marketing Manager said.

However, the Field Operations and Research Director (ag) said the corporation urgently needs to advance its mechanisation strategy to be able to increase its harvesting capabilities and reduce operating cost.

“In 2020, the industry was faced with a dire shortage of fertilisers and agrochemical which had an adverse impact on 2021 cane growth which affected cane yield. In 2021, this shortage of critical agricultural input was resolved with great support from the Government of Guyana,” the Director pointed out.
To compound the challenges of 2021, the industry was faced with a dismal shortage of labour (average turnout in the 2nd crop of 2021 being 49 percent) which compromised critical operational activities such as harvesting. The outcome from this situation was that the factories did not have adequate canes to grind consistently for a 24-hour period, thus increasing inefficiencies.

The director said for that reason, mechanisation is critical to reduce the production period and increase the output in the factories, in the productive months.
Submitting that two shorter crops with more output per day will help to reduce cost in the industry, the Director said, adding that some G$3B in immediate and urgent capital investment in land conversion, machinery and field infrastructure is required.

STRIKES BY GAWU (Union)

According to the report, there were 63 strikes in the sugar belt for 2021 which caused some 20,000 man days to be lost. The financial consequence of this situation was a loss in value to the sugar industry because of industrial action totalling G$740 million, the corporation explained.
The adverse financial impact of strikes in October alone totalled some G$378 million.

FINANCIALS

GuySuCo boasted that there has been a reduction in the annual financial losses to the Corporation despite unprecedented flooding in the sugar belt in 40 years. However, public records show that the corporation received billions of dollars in subvention during the course of 2021.

“The opening balance sheet given to the new executive management after the Dr. Irfaan Ali Government came to office illustrated that the Corporation was never compensated for the G$60 billion as a result of the Vested Order that harvested Skeldon, Enmore, Wales and Rose Hall from the books of GuySuCo,” the CEO said.

He added, “When we turned up at Rose Hall for the initial take-over/hand over process, GuySuCo found a grave yard of scrap metal as the factory was allowed to deteriorate and many of the functional moveable machines that GuySuCo left at the location in 2017 either disappeared or fell into unrecoverable disrepairs.”

The Executive Management has prepared a five-year Strategic Plan, which was approved by the Board of Directors in March 2021. However, due to the floods, the entire plan had to be re-engineered to cater for the new dispensation. The modified five-year Strategic Plan is scheduled to be presented to the February 2022 Board Meeting.

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Comments

  • wally n  On 12/27/2021 at 8:53 pm

    How much sugar is produced in Mauritius….787.65 Square Miles
    The sugar mills are centralized in four strategic parts of the island, with an annual production of around 450,000 tons of sugar annually.
    A lot of it under the name………..DEMERARA SUGAR??????
    Somebody dropped the ball??

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