The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) rounded out the 11th week of the second crop with production just over 48,000 tonnes of sugar, equalling its first crop figure and putting the total for the year at 96,000 tonnes.
The state-owned sugar corporation managed to end the week with all factories grinding—a first since the second crop has begun—but it still needs to produce 144,000 tonnes of sugar to meet its total 2013 production target with only three months to go.
However, Stabroek News has come to understand that while GuySuCo managed to grind over 6,400 tonnes of sugar during the week, the average worker turn out for all eight sugar estates sat at approximately 57 per cent. Making matters more complicated, Stabroek News understands that the average is assessed by the amount of workers registered to work at the beginning of the season as opposed to the number of manual labourers actually needed, which results in a higher percentage of workers. Stabroek News was told by GuySuCo management that Uitvlugt on average would actually require 1,000 cane harvesters. However, only around 800 have registered to work for the season, so GuySuCo is forced to calculate worker turnout based on the 800 registered workers as opposed to the 1000 that is required. This calculation unfortunately does not accurately showcase the disastrous labour shortage currently plaguing the industry.
The average tonne of cane per tonne of sugar (TC/TS) has started to normalise, with the weekly average settling at approximately 12.75. The Skeldon factory, however, is responsible for pulling up the average. Skeldon has, since grinding began, continuously had a higher than average TC/TS. This week Skeldon averaged over 13.5 TC/TS while the factory was also able to grind cane on Friday at 210 tonnes per hour.
The Skeldon factory did commence grinding after numerous false starts and has thus far been responsible for over 3,500 tonnes sugar for the second crop and over 8,500 for the year. Taking into consideration that the first crop did 48,000 tonnes, Skeldon’s second crop production has improved percentage wise.
But even the last week was not without hiccups. The factory was halted from grinding on numerous occasions, resulting in 65 hours of time loss with 78 hours of actual grinding time. Most of the time loss was due to mechanical issues. Most recently, GuySuCo spent US$30 million dollars to repair various components of the factory, which should have resulted in less time loss.
Skeldon spent a little over 50 per cent of the grinding time as time loss for the 11th week of the second crop and on Friday the factory was unable to grind for even two hours due to mechanical issues. Grinding at the factory fell significantly from the week prior.