Enmore and Rose Hall Estates to be closed by end of 2017; Production contracted to 147,000 tonnes annually
By the end of 2017, two sugar estates are to be closed, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder told the National Assembly today (Monday, May 08, 2017).
Minister Holder said the operations of some estates will be merged with others. This will see three sugar estates and five cultivation fields being retained.
The Minister said as the government pushes ahead with plans for diversification, the Enmore and Rose Hall Estates will be closed by the end of 2017.
Meanwhile, there are plans to amalgamate the Wales Estate with the Uitvlugt Estate and reassign its cane to the Uitvlugt Factory; a process which began at the end of 2016.
Holder said the proposal is that Skeldon also be divested in the thrust to ensure that the sector only consists of three estates.
The Minister delivered his statement to the National Assembly, as protesters from the Enmore and Rosehall Estates protested outside the Parliament and called for Government to reconsider the closure of those estates.
The factories to be retained are Albion, Blaimont and Uitvlugt, and the government proposes that sugar production be contracted to approximately 147,000 tonnes of sugar annually to satisfy the demand in the local markets (25,000 tonnes pa), CARICOM and regional (50,000 – 60,000 tonnes pa) USA (12,500 tonnes pa) and the World Market (50,000) tonnes. Focus would be on producing for direct consumption, value-added sugars and providing electricity to the national grid (co-generation).
Holder reminded of the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo) economic challenges over the years. He said recognising the near bankrupt position of GuySuCo, several recommendations of the recent Commission of Inquiry including privatisation and diversification are to be taken on board.
GuySuCo is reported to have incurred losses of $40 billion with sales of $230 billion from 2008 to 2015.
The government believes that the future of the industry relies on smaller sugar production and a profitable diversified enterprise. It is also the sole investor in what is the country’s single largest employer.
GuySuCo also proposes to surrender land for lease to employees for them to engage in agricultural production.
Government now invites expression of interest for diversification and said pending diversification, a series of actions are to be taken to reduce the financial burden of the corporation.