The Guyana Sugar Corporation is spending millions to save face and meet its 2014 production target of 219,000 tonnes of sugar, a figure which is low compared to its original projection and output in good years.
GuySuCo has produced just over 214,000 tonnes of sugar to date as grinding at the eight estates gradually closes. Sources within the industry have stated that the heavily indebted state-owned corporation will press on until the annual target is made even though traditionally, grinding does not extend so late into December. The 219,000-tonne production target is based on a disclosure made by GuySuCo Chief Executive Officer, Raj Singh during a meeting with the Parliamentary Economic Services Committee in July.
Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy has previously revised the 2014 annual production target from 278, 752, as stated in the corporation’s 2013-2017 Strategic Plan, to 216,000 tonnes. According to a source, GuySuCo is willing to spend millions it does not have just to make the modest 2014 target. Stabroek News was told that the millions in overhead costs couldn’t justify the amount of sugar being produced within the last few weeks.
Last week, GuySuCo produced just over 3,000 tonnes of sugar, sources say. Stabroek News was made to understand that the beleaguered Skeldon Factory, which cost US$110 million to construct, is struggling to grind what it can.
The construction of the new factory was part of the overall US$200 million Skeldon Sugar Modernization Project.
Since 2009 questions have been raised as to the capabilities of the factory and the overall project and if it was worth the money spent.
The factory itself costs well over $1 million a day to remain operational.
On Friday, sources say, GuySuCo produced less than 500 tonnes of sugar for the day with the Skeldon factory not even making half of that.
Last year, GuySuCo produced 186,807 tonnes of sugar, the lowest in 22 years. For 2012 the state-owned corporation produced 218,053 tonnes of sugar after two revisions to the annual target from 265,000 to 236,000 tonnes, finally settling on 231,072.
Again in 2011 GuySuCo fell short of its revised 282,000- tonnes target managing to produce just over 237,000 tonnes. Originally the 2011 target was set at 300,000 tonnes.