Sugar production behind schedule due to issues at factories – unions

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Sugar production for the second crop of 2019 is at 21,869 tonnes, which represents nearly 35 per cent below its anticipated production.

“In keeping with the production schedule, sugar production ought to have reached 33,892 tonnes. Thus, GuySuCo, at that time, was in a deficit of 12,023 tonnes,” the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) noted in a statement Friday.

The 18-week crop is in its seventh week of production. The unions said they met with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) on October 01, 2019.

The Albion Estate produced 10,261 tonnes of sugar from its 16,585 target while the Blairmont Estate produced 6,624 of its 9,882 target.

The Uitvlugt Estate produced 4,984 tonnes of sugar from its 7,425 tonnes target, the Unions said in a statement.

According to the workers’ unions, since the start of the crop, the Albion factory has been plagued by several breakdowns.

“We understand that the issues that popped up are not in a particular section but have appeared in many of the various areas…In one instance, a breakdown resulted after one of the wire ropes that hoists cane into the factory burst, GAWU and NAACIE said.

The cane harvestors are paid per tonne. As such the union said it is regrettable that such issues are occurring a few weeks after the crop’s commencement.

At Blairmont, the unions stated that the factory has some defective components which are contributing to sugar losses. The workers have also expressed concern about the quality of canes available for harvesting, which they say is producing lower yields.

Meanwhile, at the Uitvlugt, while the estate, over the last two (2) weeks, has managed to surpass its weekly production target, it still continues to experience difficulties with the factory.

“For the last few crops, the Uitvlugt factory has been plagued by several problems. Extensive works which are said to be executed during the out-of-crop period, it seems, are not effective and we wonder whether there is need for closer examination,” the Unions said.

GAWU and NAACIE questioned the utilization of the proceeds from the $30B bond since it was intended to address the problems at the factories.

According to the unions, GuySuCo informed them that its punt rehabilitation programme is being held up as NICIL-SPU is refusing to release funds to purchase the steel required.

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