The three-estate Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is likely to barely scrape past the 100,000-tonne mark for this year, if the corporation has its way. And there is nothing much to smile about.
Some 68,045 tonnes will be produced this second crop – Albion Estate – 38,160, Blairmont – 19,105 and Uitvlugt for 10,780, the corporation said in a statement.
Set a target of less than 120,000 for the year, the figures have been adjusted as the realities on the ground step in.
For the first crop, the industry recorded 34,450 tonnes, short of the original target by 1,655 tonnes.
Those production figures would come as the country for the first time in decades had to do without four estates – Skeldon, Rose Hall, Enmore and Wales- which were closed in the last 18 months, making redundant about 4,300 workers.
The falling figures would be more than worrying, as during the first crop of last year, GuySuCo staggered short of the 74,000 tonnes target by almost 25,000 tonnes.
GuySuCo is badly in need of cash, which the Government says it doesn’t have.
The government was forced to negotiate a US$30B bond facility, using Republic Bank earlier this year. However, Government is unwilling to release the monies to pay the debts of GuySuCo which is in the billions. They say the monies are for general operations and retooling.
There have been several offers for the four closed estates and for the entire industry, but Government says it will not be rushed.
The sugar industry has been draining the public coffers of billions of dollars annually in bailouts, producing at three times what it was selling for.
Yesterday, in the statement also, GuySuCo dismissed reports of a major catastrophic at the Uitvlugt estate, West Coast Demerara. There were reported technical issues with the factory after a knife turbine encountered problems.
There were accusations of neglect, but a statement of GuySuCo did not immediately explain yesterday. There were also reports of significant cane losses. Again, GuySuCo did not quantify the losses of cane or sugar.
The corporation said that the Uitvlugt factory resumed operation on Sunday after experiencing technical difficulties over a week ago.
“The factory at the Uitvlugt Estate was due to commence grinding on 11 August, when the heavy duty knife turbine developed significant technical problems which forced the delay of start for the second crop at that estate.”
The corporation said its engineers and technicians have been working continuously to ensure that the downtime for the factory was minimal.
“Hence, the damaged parts for the turbine, knife shaft and knives were sourced and replaced speedily.”
Reportedly, the damaged items were sourced from other closed estates.
“The Corporation’s engineers have assured that all of the necessary safety checks have been carried out on the turbine as recommended by the manufacturer and as stated in the operations and maintenance manual. The factory has since been handed over for grinding operation to recommence.”
GuySuCo explained that while some losses were incurred as a result of staling of canes which were burnt at the time of the incident, it should be noted that the losses are minimal.
With “good attendance and a focused management and staff”, the estate is set to achieve its second crop target, of 10,780 tonnes, GuySuCo assured.
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