Guyana could provide all the sugar Caribbean needs in two years – President Ali

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Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali posited that the country could produce and supply all of the sugar demanded by the Caribbean in two years’ time.

The Guyanese Head of State said this as he addressed Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the Caribbean Investment Forum, being held this week at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Georgetown.

“We are ensuring that we build the viability (of every sector) including the sugar sector… which requires tremendous investment,” the President said.

He added, “We are very confident that Guyana will be in a position in the next two years to satisfy the full sugar requirements of this entire region.”

Dr. Ali is the lead head for agriculture in the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) quasi-cabinet. He has been tasked with determining how the region can be food secure and is leading an ambitious goal of slashing CARICOM’s hefty food import bill by 25% by 2025.

He expressed this optimism about the sugar sector as he told the gathering of investors, government officials and other stakeholders that Guyana was not just banking on its nascent oil and gas sector and its newfound wealth. He said his government is modernising traditional and non-traditional sectors as part of plans to diversify and strengthen the local economy.

Investing in the sugar sector has been a keen focus of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government.

Earlier this year, the President announced that the Enmore Sugar Estate is being converted into a sugar refinery.

This refinery would have the capacity to refine about 180,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually and if Guyana cannot supply that entire amount, the President said “we’ll have to fill the gap.”

A refinery is different from a sugar mill since the latter crushes the cane stalks, squeezes the juice from the plant and facilitates the crystallisation of the juice so it turns into raw sugar. A refinery converts that raw sugar into food grade white sugar.

Through its budgetary allocations annually, the government has also made substantial investments in its goal of retooling and revitalising the sugar industry.

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