– grinding of 60,000 tonnes of cane postponed to next year
The decision to hire two foreign experts for Enmore sugar factory is to help solve a number of critical problems affecting production, the state-owned company confirmed yesterday.
According to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), that East Demerara estate has been facing severe problems for the last six crops, forcing hundreds of hours of technical downtime.
While GuySuCo did not give details of the two engineers over the past week, Kaieteur News had identified them as coming from a prominent sugar company out of India.
“Over the past six crops, the East Demerara estate has been plagued with various challenges both in the agriculture operations and in the factory, including engineering and processing problems. During the course of the current crop-to-date, almost 425 hours were lost through factory technical downtime,” GuySuCo said in a statement.
The problems have forced GuySuCo to postpone processing over 60,000 tonnes of cane until next year.
“As a consequence of the perpetually high factory downtime, an estimated 60,000 tonnes cane that could yield 4,600 tonnes sugar will have to be carried over from the existing crop to the first crop next year.”
The Corporation said that the same factory problems caused approximately 39,000 tonnes to be carried forward from the first crop this year to the current crop, and in the second crop last year, 36,000 tonnes cane were carried forward to the first crop 2013.”
GuySuCo made it clear that unless the factory problems are fixed, Enmore will have to be perpetually carrying forward canes from one crop to the next. “This is unacceptable and must be corrected.”
To assess what is needed to arrest the situation, there were separate visits by three internationally recognized firms in factory engineering and processing. It was recommended that the Corporation solicit technical assistance to fix the problems. A series of corrective interventions were recommended together with a plan to improve the overall efficiency of the factory.
GuySuCo said that the decision to seek external help was one that grew out of a consensus. “Estate, corporate management and the Board of Directors have reviewed the recommendations and necessary interventions and collectively agreed that external resources be sought to help fix the Enmore Factory.”
GuySuCo said that an internationally reputable firm whose representatives have recently visited the Enmore Factory was approached to send two engineers who have the relevant expertise in engineering and processing, to work together with the existing factory staff to remedy the existing problems.
“The engineers are expected soon and GuySuCo looks forward to working with them to improve the efficiency of Enmore Factory.”
While GuySuCo did not name the Indian company, Kaieteur News has reported union and other officials as saying that the two experts are from the Integrated Casetech Consultants (P) Limited, a management firm. Casetech is a sister company of Simbhaoli, said to be India’s largest integrated sugar refinery.
There were modifications works done on the factory a few years ago to ensure it is compatible to a new sugar packaging plant next door.
The problems at Enmore are part of the bigger problem besetting the entire sugar industry. This year, in its worst performance in 20 years, GuySuCo is set to fall below 200,000 tonnes of sugar.
Government, with little answers to the under-performance of its US$200M flagship project at Skeldon, East Berbice, has been examining a number of measures, including hiring a number of consultants from Tate and Lyle, its largest European customer.
However, despite placing one of them at the Skeldon estate some nine months ago, there has been no reversal of fortunes. Five others are reportedly here. GuySuCo’s Board is now contemplating ending the management contract with Tate and Lyle.
Production targets have been revised downwards from the 260,000 tonnes set at the beginning of the year to 203,000.
The year’s first crop fell short of the 70,000 tonnes by an alarming 22,000. This year, too, as part of assistance to help the ailing industry, Government earmarked $1B for GuySuCo. This was $4B less than last year.
At one time the biggest export earner for the economy, sugar has been overtaken by gold and rice. It also has in excess of 16,000 persons directly employed on the coasts of Demerara and Berbice.
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