As the APNU+AFC government looks to make the sugar sector more competitive in light of local and global challenges, Presi-dent David Granger met with executives of United Kingdom (UK)-based sugar and ethanol trading, advisory and supply chain management firm, Czarnikow.
The meeting was held yesterday at the National Liberal Club in London to discuss the reorganisation of the sugar sector and the development of a competitive marketing strategy for the Guyana Sugar Corporation Incorporated (GuySuCo).
According to a release from the Ministry of Presidency, Czarnikow, which has been working with the sugar company for a number of years, will engage with GuySuCo on the new strategic plan after the White Paper on the Future of the Sugar Indus-try is laid in the National Assembly on May 8, and debates are completed.
Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder submitted the draft of the White Paper to Cabinet for its consideration at its meeting on Tuesday, April 18.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon had told the media at the post-Cabinet press briefing that the laying of the document in the National Assembly would continue the government’s trend of ensuring openness, transparency and accountability in the determination of the way forward for the industry.
He had said too that the White Paper would entail the issuing of land to workers and cane farmers who would be invited to undertake agro-based activities.
That is one of three plans that have been highlighted in the White Paper with the other two being divesting “some of [GuySuCo’s] facilities” and amalgamating some estates and factories.
He said the land would become available based on government’s plan to divest some of the facilities.
Accompanying the President were Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge and High Commissioner Hamley Case; they met with Czarnikow’s Associate Director John Ireland and Chief Executive Officer Robin Cave.
President Granger said Guyana needs technical support even as the country looks toward the consolidation of the industry in order to make it more competitive.
This, he said, would be done through a combination of the maintenance of the Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt sugar estates, private sector investment and the promotion of peasant farming.
The President said too that a push towards increased value-added production is important to the future of the industry.
Currently, the sector employs about 17,000 people and the President emphasised the need for investment in order to ensure viability and increased efficiency in the industry.
The meeting also allowed discussions on ways to consolidate Guyana’s access to the British market in light of Brexit, the term coined to describe the United Kingdom’s impending withdrawal from the EU.
This matter is at the top of the agenda for discussions, during the President’s visit to the UK this week, but Guyana’s marketing strategy for sugar is also likely to include improving access to EU markets and the expansion of marketing arrangements in the Caribbean Community.
Over the next few days President Granger will engage in a series of high-level meetings in addition to the Carib-bean Council’s Annual Reception at the House of Lords and the Investment Seminar on Guyana.
While there, the President will also have an audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He will meet with Rt Hon Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE as well as the Guyanese diaspora in London.