The Special Purpose Unit (SPU) under the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), yesterday announced that 100 cane cutters have been contracted to harvest cane in the fields at the former GuySuCo Rose Hall Estate.
The cane harvesters, who commenced work this week, are expected to harvest 2,300 hectares.
Rose Hall is one of the estates shuttered by GuySuCo Management at the end of 2017 and handed over to the SPU for privatization and/or diversification. Initial SPU surveys revealed that GuySuCo had left a sugarcane crop in the ground that was going to be ready for harvesting.
According to a statement from NICIL-SPU, the sugarcane in the ground at Rose Hall represented significant value that would be lost if not harvested. The sugarcane at Rose Hall also presented an opportunity for the SPU to produce molasses to help meet local demand in 2018.
The statement said that as part of the ongoing collaboration between the SPU and GuySuCo, the sugarcane harvested at Rose Hall would be taken to GuySuCo’s Albion factory for crushing. The SPU took the decision to contract the Albion factory to crush the sugarcane harvested at Rose Hall since it was a more cost effective and efficient option. Grinding the cane at Rose Hall would require capital expenditure to restart the factory and, the assembling of a significant workforce, the statement said.
The statement said that the SPU will be paying the contracted harvesters and will recoup these funds from the molasses sales afterwards.
The Rose Hall estate also has 4,300 hectares of sugarcane in the field for the second crop in 2018.
Reaping of the remaining cane in the field is also part of the SPU’s decision to attract the best possible bid for the assets of GuySuCo or the sale of the estate as a continuing concern. The government and GuySuCo have been hammered for an unclear policy on the sugar industry as evidenced by the announcement that limited operations would resume at several of the estates. After shutting the estates, money now has to be spent to reopen and re-employ workers.