Sugar’s way forward: ‘Other proposal I’ – Closure

Introduction

Starting today I shall focus on the way forward for Guyana’s sugar industry. The nationalization of the assets of two foreign plantations and their estates in 1976 not only led to the establishment of GuySuCo, but also marked the apogee of a centuries-long process of consolidating capital and productive assets in the sugar industry, which started since the late 1600s.

At the time of GuySuCo’s establishment, annual sugar output averaged 327 thousand tonnes. Further, the sugar industry was contributing about 27 per cent of GDP and 45 per cent of total domestic export earnings.

After the mid-1970s two occurrences signalled the emerging crisis in the industry. First, newer sectors emerged in Guyana’s economy (for example, tourism), while some of the then existing sectors have had exceptional recent growth (for example, gold). Second, alongside this, as we have noted, was the persistent underperformance of the sugar industry.

As a result, by 2013, the sugar industry was contributing only 3.9 per cent to real GDP (at rebased 2006 prices) and 4.1 per cent to nominal GDP, at current basic prices. Further, sugar exports were accounting for only 8.3 per cent of total domestic export earnings. And, perhaps more tellingly, in terms of absolute value, sugar output averaged over the period 2010-2013 about 100 thousand tonnes less than it  …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.



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