…Albion produces more than Skeldon
Several technical problems continued to plague the sugar sector in 2011. However, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) was able to reap an increase of 16,000 tonnes in comparison with the previous year.
It produced more than 237,000 tonnes of sugar last year recording a slight increase over 221,000 tonnes in 2010.
Bad weather, low yield and an unstable work force were factors which contributed to the sugar company not achieving 300,000 tonnes, a figure which the sugar industry had announced at the beginning of 2011 that it was aiming to achieve.
With the above mentioned issues affecting GuySuCo during last year, the figure was depreciated to 282,000 tonnes, and then was further revised to 240,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, sugar production continued until the inclement weather prematurely ended 2011’s sugar crop.
It was reported that Guyana exported a total of 209,878 tonnes of sugar in 2011. The Albion Sugar Estate, with almost 59,000 tonnes, led the production figures.
Most of the country’s sugar export continued to be bulk sugar, with 159,758 tonnes going to the European Union and 12,400 tonnes going to the United States of America (USA).
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy disclosed that the sugar industry in Guyana employs more than 18,000 permanent employees and 4,000 temporary employees with more than 125,000 people depending directly or indirectly on GuySuCo for a living.
Kaieteur News understands that for 2011 bulk sugar was shipped mainly to the EU and USA; bagged sugar sent to CARICOM and mostly for domestic use while molasses was used in Guyana and shipped to Puerto Rico and CARICOM.
Packaged sugar was distributed worldwide while the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) benefitted from co-generation from the sugar industry.
Despite the decline in sugar production over the past decade, Dr. Ramsammy posited that once the Skeldon Factory is fully operational, the sugar industry can once again return to the days of past successes.
Plans are now being put into motion to ramp up harvesting from the current 50 tonnes of cane per hectare to around 75. This is on par with the turnaround plan which has set 2015 for the industry to achieve those targets.
According to Ramsammy, the plan is to have new cane in the 43,000-plus hectares every five years. GuySuCo is now moving to incrementally achieve this by 20 per cent replanting every year until that target is achieved.
“It (production) has been consistent during the last five years between 220,000 to 250,000 tonnes. What we now need to do is to take it to the next notch, to 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes … The target is to reach 400,000 tonnes by 2015, and the potential is still there. Once Skeldon is fully operational, we will begin to see that success,” Ramsammy had told the media.
He added that if the sugar industry is to be successful then more focus needs to be placed on the production of packaged sugar so as to start providing for both the local and international markets.
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