Sugar, livestock, forestry sectors contract in 2019; manufacturing, services, construction expand

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Despite Guyana’s non-oil real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increasing by 4.3 per cent in 2019, several of the country’s major sectors including sugar, livestock and forestry performed poorly during that year.

According to the Ministry of Finance, in its 2019 end-of-year report, stronger growth for that year was constrained by a marginal decline of 0.5 per cent in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.

Growth, the report highlighted, was supported by expansion in mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction and services.

In 2019, sugar production contracted by 11.8 per cent, with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) falling significantly short of its production target. The 2019 Budget detailed a production target of 113,262 metric tonnes, but this was revised to 107,203 in the Finance Ministry’s mid-year report.

However, at the end of 2019, production fell short by some 21,006 metric tonnes than the initial target, to 92,256 metric tonnes.

In relation to the livestock subsector, the Ministry noted that a contraction of 3.5 per cent was recorded at the end of 2019 and this was primarily because of the inability of poultry production to recover during the year.

Despite this, egg production grew by 45.3 per cent; beef production increased by 32.6 per cent; pork by 66.8 per cent; and mutton and chevon by 8.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, the forestry subsector recorded notable gains at the half-year, which persisted into the third quarter, but these were undone in the final quarter of 2019, resulting in a contraction of 3.9 per cent for the entire year.

On the positive end of the curve, the Ministry noted that the manufacturing sector realised a significant growth of 14.7 per cent in 2019, the highest rate since 2013 when the sector grew by 8.2 per cent.

This achievement was bolstered by rice and other manufacturing, which expanded by 26.4 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.

It was highlighted that the quantity of paddy harvested in 2019 reached 1,049,874 metric tonnes – the highest level since 2015 when the industry attained record production of 1,058,129 metric tonnes.

Production in 2019 surpassed the 2018 harvest by 8.8 per cent, or 84,755 metric tonnes, resulting in growth in the rice cultivation industry of 1 per cent, in 2019, the Ministry disclosed.

In the construction sector, growth was recorded for a fourth consecutive year. In 2019, expansion was recorded at 3.1 per cent, which represents 0.2 percentage points above the rate achieved in 2018.

The services sector, like the construction sector, also expanded for a fourth consecutive year, growing by 4.2 per cent – the highest growth rate over the four-year period.

It was revealed that this growth rate was driven by wholesale and retail trade and repairs, administrative and support services, and transport and storage, which grew by 5 per cent, 5.8 per cent, and 6.9 per cent, respectively.

Finally, it was Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector which contributed to the 124.2 per cent expansion in the petroleum and gas and support services subsector, also facilitated growth of 10.6 per cent in the mining and quarrying sector.

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