$900M in cane damaged by flooding at Albion Estate
- 80% of 2022 first crop expected to be wiped out
By Shikema Dey
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is faced with yet another challenge even as it is trying to resuscitate the sector – some $900 million in cane crops at the Albion Estate in East Berbice-Corentyne have been damaged due to the high levels of flooding experienced.
And although the rains have ceased temporarily and water is receding across the country, the prognosis at the Albion Estate does not bode well for the industry as it stands to lose 80% of the first crop for 2022.
GuySuCo’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sasenarine Singh on Tuesday explained that when the rainy season commenced, more than 74% of the predicted average rainfall hammered the Albion Estate in Region Six.
The heavy rainfall was compounded by the overflowing the Canje Creek, the Canje Catchment area, and the Boeresiere Conservancies. And if that was not enough, the Corporation was hit with yet another issue; flood-affected farmers were breaching impolderments in the cane fields in efforts to drain their own farmlands.
“[So] the reality is, the entire Albion cultivation is underwater,” Singh told the News Room on Tuesday during an interview.
He said that the persistent rainfall affected all three of the operating, water levels have since lowered at Blairmont, West Coast Berbice, and at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara.
The Corporation is working fervently to control the situation; works have commenced aiding drainage with help from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) but that does not mean things will return to normal at the Albion Estate.
Overall, GuySuCo is set to lose 14,112 metric tons of sugar in the second crop because of the flood and this equates to a whopping $1.5 billion.
And that figure was amassed from a preliminary assessment of the estates alone. A more detailed analysis would be done in the four weeks and the figure is expected to be a lot worse.
“…This situation will get tighter in August because Albion is not with us on the sugar production from and is not expected to join the production fleet until the end of August 2021,” Singh told the News Room.
“This is a major blow to the sugar industry.”
Last month, the People’s Progressive Party Government pushed ahead and defended supplementary funding to the tune of $23.2B.
The money will be used for a series of relief measures in response to the ongoing countrywide flood and COVID-19 pandemic.
Included in the monies approved to offset urgent expenses not foreseen during the presentation of the 2021 budget is $10B for to support the government’s flood relief and flood recovery efforts.
The government also now has at its disposal an additional $1.5B for GuySuCo.