Sugar hits the dregs

–production at lowest in 22 years, debts climb

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has plunged further into financial crisis as sugar production for 2013 fell to 186,807 tonnes, the lowest recorded in 22 years.

In a year rife with industrial relations issues, mechanical problems and inadequate grinding capacity, the industry’s performance slid beneath GuySuCo’s minimum production rate of 232,000 tonnes of sugar for its international and local quotas, leaving the corporation severely indebted to banks and suppliers.

Up to the end of August last year, sugar production was a miserable 81,000 tonnes. The flagship Skeldon factory which was hyped as having the capability to grind 350 tonnes of cane an hour was grinding just 185 tonnes per hour and management had reduced the stated rate to 250 tonnes, calling this a far more realistic grinding rate.

Mechanical issues which have dogged Skeldon from day one continued to eat away at factory time and at money which was poured into it to fix the almost never-ending issues.

President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) Komal Chand said the total production was “a fragile situation” that could have been avoided if factories’ performances were up to standard.

He stated that even though the Skeldon factory was undersupplying and a major contributor to last year’s dismal performance, sugar production was a key issue in all of the factories. “Even if you take out Skeldon from the equation the others still have low productions,” he added. He further stated that field expansion had also caused a downward slide in production.

He added that production for the last two years was shameful when compared to 2002, 2003 and 2004’s average annual production of 315,000 tonnes. “The production is extremely low and therefore puts GuySuCo in deeper financial trouble,” Chand said.

Sugar workers were on a record number of strikes last year with the latest and last one being in December, when they downed tools over their annual production incentive, effectively bringing the entire industry to a halt.

GuySuCo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Bhim said he was hoping that there wouldn’t be a repeat of last year’s performance and that the corporation would ensure there is a hike in yields for the new year. “We are going to ensure that we get the basics right first,” he said.

The CEO blamed the shortfall on last year’s first crop which at 48,000 tonnes was the lowest ever recorded by the industry. He said it was with the first crop that they started to fall short, admitting that the dismal total production has injured the corporation. “It hasn’t helped help us financially,” he said, noting that the new crop is expected to start early in January.

Last year the industry was unable to meet its European Union quota shipment of 167,000 tonnes of sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Increased venues, franchises in pipeline as CPL seeks expansion

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC – Caribbean Premier League organisers say they will explore pushing the increasingly popular Twenty20 tournament into Asia, as well as expanding the number of franchises involved and hosting them in North American cities.

default placeholder

Grade Six results to be released Tuesday

The Ministry of Education today said that results of the National Grade Six Assessment –NGSA will be released on Tuesday, July 5, 2016.

The ambassadors group with UG Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith (seated fifth from left)

UG needs emergency $$ to prevent collapse

A conference of local and diaspora stakeholders of the University of Guyana (UG) has called on the government to provide emergency funding to the institution to reverse its “imminent collapse”.

Sattaur Gafoor in the temporary office which was set up after the fire

Gafoor’s, insurers in ‘stalemate’ over Houston Complex repairs

There is a “stalemate” between Gafoors and its insurance underwriters over how to proceed on a building that was damaged in the massive fire at the company’s Houston Complex last month but some reconstruction has started.

20160629digicel

Duo stole over $31M in electronics from Digicel

Two men were yesterday charged with stealing over $31 million in electronics belonging to Digicel Guyana Incorporated. Albert De Freitas, 27, and Basdeo Sackoon, 26, appeared before city magistrate Dylon Bess charged with stealing a total of $31,107,510 in items from the telecoms company.

default placeholder

Driver gets one year in jail for causing boy’s death

A man was yesterday sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty of three offences, including causing the death of an 11-year-old child by dangerous driving.

default placeholder

Gov’t support for city’s financial measures to hinge on transparency, public interest

President David Granger on Monday said that central government’s support for the city’s measures to make itself financial sustainable would rest on transparency and the public’s interest.

default placeholder

Man arrested over ISIS bomb threat at city bank

A man was yesterday morning arrested after he entered a city bank and demanded $10M under the name of Islamic State (ISIS) before threatening to explode a bomb that he claimed he had on him.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: