With the sugar industry seeing an improvement in workers’ attendance over the past few months, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is on track to hit its production target for the second crop.
In an interview with Stabroek News on Wednesday, GuySuCo’s Public Relations Officer Audreyanna Thomas said that to date, they have produced 16,809 tonnes of sugar from the second crop, which started in July, with a target of 124,844 tonnes.
While the target for the first crop was 49,606 tonnes, Thomas related that they were not able to achieve it, since in the earlier part of the year, the company was plagued with the issues of poor workers’ turnout and several strikes.
However, Thomas related that the company is very optimistic that it is going to achieve the set target since it has seen a stable and improved workers’ turnout across all the estates.
Thomas said that they have recorded a 64% turnout of workers across the industry since the beginning of the second crop. “The turnout has been improving. It’s just Albion [where] we would like to see an increase,” she explained, while pointing out that Albion Estate has had the lowest turnout.
She also explained that they have been transporting workers from the estates that have not started grinding as yet to other estates, in order to support the other workers. “We have workers going from the East Demerara Estate to Uitvlugt, and then we have some going from Skeldon to Albion and Rose Hall and Blairmont. We are moving them around, but when the other estates start grinding we will have to take them back,” she added.
Thomas also said that while the turnout has been decent, the company is still encouraging the other workers to take up the jobs which are still available at the other estates.
“…Some are coming out and we would like to thank them for coming out. It’s about keeping their jobs, the cane harvesters and cane transport operators and we would like to encourage others to come out. The crop has started and there is a lot that they can benefit from Uitvlugt,” Thomas pointed out, while stating that even though they would want 100% workers turnout, they are aiming for 80%, which would see the crop finished before it’s allotted time, and money being saved by the company.
Thomas also highlighted that GuySuCo is encouraging any person who is searching for employment along the West Bank and the other areas to visit the Uitvlugt Estate and explore what vacancies are available in the agriculture department.
She also said that the company appreciates the support from the workers and the stakeholders such as the Unions. “We haven’t been having many disruptions and if we continue like this without strikes and the employees are able to focus on their work like they are doing now, then it is highly likely that we can have a successful crop and achieve our target for this crop,” she added.
In addition to the stakeholders and workers, Thomas explained that the communities have also played a major role in maintaining a stable turnout since the crop has started. She said that the Sugar Company has been engaging the residents of various communities in their ‘Friends of GuySuCo Voluntary Network’ and have been asking them to encourage the workers to turn out at the estates.
“We suspect that some communities have been doing that because of the response, and we want to thank the residents of the communities,” she said.