India helping Guyana to reopen sugar estates


The Guyana Government has asked the Indian Government to help reopen the sugar estates which were closed by the former APNU+AFC administration.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha recently met with unions representing sugar workers – the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) and the National Association for Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) – and disclosed that India will be sending two technical officers to Guyana to assist with the re-organization of the sugar industry.

“As a matter of fact, I recently submitted the Terms of Reference (TOR) and they (the Indian Government) will be sending two specialists to assist with the re-organization of the industry. This is the first step,” he told the unions, according to a statement from the Ministry.

“I’ve also discussed acquiring the equipment necessary to assemble factories at estates that were closed. Many of the factories were left as empty shells and in order for us to reopen those estates we need to replace all of the equipment. The High Commissioner was very interested and we will have further discussions on it soon,” Minister Mustapha added.

The discussions have begun with Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. K.J Srinivasa who the Minister said “has expressed his Government’s willingness to assist.”

Minister Mustapha indicated that there is a task force working to assess the current state of the closed estates and is working hard to ensure those who benefitted from the estates can regain their livelihood.

General Secretary of GAWU, Seepaul Narine, pointed out the need to also explore areas like cogeneration and the use of the bagasse and other bi-products of sugar cane that are usually discarded in the production of sugar.

“…one of the things we can look at, in the future, is to engage the Indian government to acquire equipment to assemble factories at these estates. The factories do not have to be as big as the ones that were closed. In fact, the project can be more about making an entire complex, where Government can set up a distillery and explore the production other feasible things from the sugarcane like of animal feed, organic compost, etc. You can also look at the packaging, branding and marketing of molasses,” Narine pointed out.

He said the market is already there for the bi-products.

Also present at meeting were: MoA Director General Madanlall Ramraj; NAACIE and Federation of Independent Trade Union of Guyana (FITUG) General Secretary Dawchan Nagasar; other officials from GAWU and NAACIE – Gordon Thomas, Rikhram Srikishen, Rickey Rambeer, Aslim Singh and Porandatt Narine.

The Unions and the Ministry committed to working together to reopening the estates and building the industry.

The Government is pursuing the reopening of all sugar estates which were closed between 2016 to 2018 with the exception of Wales in Region Three as items from that factory were reportedly sold off.

The administration hopes that it can also return the state-owned sugar industry to profitability.

GAWU on Thursday said the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySUCo) is heading for its worst production in history.

The sugar company at the beginning of the year said it would produce 114,162 tonnes sugar – 46,475 tonnes in the first crop and 67,687 tonnes in the second crop.

The Corporation, in a press statement on July 27, 2020, admitted that it only managed to produce 37,015 tonnes sugar during the first crop, a deficit of 9,460 tonnes sugar.

Turning to the second crop, after some revision, the GuySuCo informed that it will produce 69,480 tonnes sugar.

According to GAWU, the production for the year versus estimated production is as follows:-

According to GAWU, the production for the year versus estimated production is as follows:-

Estate Actual Production Estimated Production Deficit
Albion 21,716 35,342 -13,627
Blairmont 14,661 18,555 -3,894
Uitvlugt 10,159 17,031 -6,873
Industry 46,535 70,928 -24,393

The Corporation’s major problem continues to be the lack of quality canes in its fields, the Union said.

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