The all-weather road linking the Wales, West Bank Demerara backlands to Uitvlugt, West Coast of Demerara in order to facilitate the transport of cane is expected to be completed by the end of July, GuySuCo Public Relations Officer Audreyanna Thomas has said.
When asked about the status of the road, Thomas told this newspaper that while bad weather had initially affected progress, it is now significantly advanced and is expected to be completed by the end of July, once the weather continues to be favourable. The road is being developed for cane farmers who had expressed concern about transporting the cane via the West Demerara highway and had said that they were “barely making a profit” at Wales and would eventually lose money.
GuySuCo’s Finance Director Paul Bhim previously told Stabroek News that 60% of the farmers hail from Canal Number One Polder and that their fields are closer to Uitvlugt estate rather than to the Wales factory. He had said that the farmers preferred to move their cane there because it is easier to access.
Last month, GuySuCo had advertised lands in a bid to encourage more private cane farmers to take up work at the Uitvlugt Estate. Thomas had stated that some 4,200 hectares were made available and up to last month, more than half of them were already leased out.
“One of the things we want to do is to bring more cane farmers on board and this is part of that and our Uitvlugt Improvement Programme,” Thomas had said. She had indicated that out of the 4,200 hectares of land that was made available for lease, 2,800 hectares have been occupied by some 77 cane farmers already. “Some of the farmers who were at Wales went over to Uitvlugt and we started to give some new ones last year and in 2016 we started to give some new farmers,” Thomas had noted.
Thomas had added that they are expecting to produce 5,900 tonnes of sugar per year from the lands that are currently being leased.