The Guyana Sugar Corpo-ration (GuySuCo) is in talks with a Guatemalan sugar company looking to invest, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.
San Diego Sugar has already had multiple discussions with GuySuCo, Rodrigues-Birkett told a press conference on Monday. “The authorities in GuySuCo are already in touch with a company in Guatemala who has shown a keen interest in working in the sugar sector in Guyana. We hope that those discussions would be fruitful,” she said. The company, she noted, has requested information from GuySuCo.
However, according to an industry insider, there have been no formal talks with GuySuCo’s management, which suggests that aclear division exists between management at the state-owned company and its board of directors.
According to Rodrigues-Birkett, from her discussions with the Guatemalan company, they seem keen to provide assistance, but they are also interested in establishing their own cultivation and production process in Guyana. She did note that discussions were at an early stage.
While Guatemala is one of the largest sugar producers globally, it does so with a fully privatised industry made up of small to large scale producers. San Diego Sugar is a small scale producer, according to the small business e-commerce website Manta.
According to the company’s website, its factory is capable of producing 2.5 million quintals of sugar or 250,000 tonnes. It also states that in addition to the sale of sugar domestically and internationally, the company has plans to produce electricity through cogeneration projects.
GuySuCo’s Skeldon plant, commissioned in 2009, was supposed to have the capability of producing over 110,000 tonnes of sugar annually, grinding at 350 tonnes an hour. The factory was also supposed to be producing electricity from a renewable source. This additional power that was generated was to be supplied to the national grid under the Skeldon Sugar Modernisation Project. To date, Skeldon has been unable to do so.
GuySuCo’s annual production for 2013 was a mere 186,807 tonnes—a far cry from the initial target of 240,000, which was later readjusted to 203,000 tonnes. 2013 was GuySuCo’s worst production year in the company’s recent history. The indebted state owned corporation is yet to disclose its 2014 production target and as the first week of February is ending there is still no official date set for the commencement of the first crop of 2014.