GuySuCo production steadies but worker turnout remains hurdle

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is still grappling with less than ideal worker turnout to harvest the fields during the crucial second crop, with the daily attendance of harvesters ranging between 50 per cent and 70 per cent, according to management.

It was revealed that this calculated percentage in itself was skewed because the number of registered workers is lower from the number actually required. As a result the percentage is taken from the number of registered workers as opposed to the higher amount each estate actually needs to produce at maximum capacity.

However, even with the lower worker turnout and the bad weather contributing to the delayed start, the second crop harvest and production have steadied. Sugar production for the second crop thus far is approximately 63,000 tonnes, bringing the annual total to over 111,000 tonnes.

The good news for GuySuCo was that it was able to produce over 6,000 tonnes of sugar for the week which ended yesterday. However, even if the cooperation were capable of maintaining a comparable level of production until the end of 2013, sugar production could be no more than approximately 78,000 tonnes, which would mean that GuySuCo would end the year at around 190,000 tonnes, well below the 240,000-tonnes target.

GuySuCo’s production for the week was in part due to all factories grinding and little activity in terms of strikes at the various estates. Last week saw the least amount of production hiccups since the beginning of the second crop.

In addition, the average tonnes of cane required per tonne of sugar (TC/TS) has tapered off significantly over the past three weeks, with little fluctuation from the 12 to 13 TC/TS. At the beginning of the season and when the Skeldon factory eventually began to grind, TC/TS could be as high as 20, which is not an industry norm and could skew the reality of production capabilities.

According to Skeldon management, the factory is keeping up with its above average TC/TS as it is to be expected to produce at a higher ration because it was designed to do so.

GuySuCo is currently continuing to play catch up after the dismal first crop production of 48,000 tonnes — well below the 71,000 tonnes target.

GuySuCo is responsible for a 167,000 tonne European Union quota as well as a 24,000 tonnes domestic market indicator on a yearly basis. With the low production for 2013, the state-owned entity may have to face the real possibility that sugar imports my need to happen.

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