Aug 05, 2022 News
– says in-house experts decided on better technology to turnaround corporation
By Zena Henry
Kaieteur News – Guyana Sugar Company (GuySuCo) Chief Executive Officer, Sasenarine Singh is adamant that as part of the ailing company’s turnaround, suitable technologies must be applied in the mechanisation process of sugar cane production.
During an interview with this publication yesterday to clear up a number of issues relating to the purchase of articulated tractors against that of John Deere tractors, Singh told the newspaper that the company has embarked on a strategic five-year plan to stabilise the industry and in particular, intends to move ahead with a mechanisation programme using mainly the two types of machines. Given that only 50 percent of the company’s manual labour is turning out, the CEO insists that mechanisation is the way forward and that two machines at the centre of a rift between himself and resigned Board Vice Chairman Anthony Vieira, both have their places in supporting the work required by the sugar company.
The CEO is accused of pushing the GAME tractors which stakeholders claimed are “unsuitable” and more costly than the John Deere. Despite this, they charged that the CEO is looking for more than G$1B to buy the unsuitable technology. The GuySuCo CEO has insisted however, that he makes no decision on his own. He told Kaieteur News that “GuySuCo’s sub -committee of the Board basically made the decision that the (articulated) tractors were to be delivered in batches, contingent on a clear demonstration and certification of its suitability and performance.” He said it meant that other batches would not be procured unless the first batch performed and is unequivocally accepted by management and the board. “There is nowhere on this document where Sasenarine Singh is signing”, the CEO said. Instead, he highlighted that the Chairman of that subcommittee is actually a senior member of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), suggesting that key sugar stakeholders had been involved in the process. The CEO explained, that in 2020 he was warned by GuySuCo’s technicians that if the company wants to see a turnaround in the industry, “we need to have the right technology on the fields designed for mechanisation, and the right technology for the manual fields.” He explained that the manual fields are the Dutch beds and mechanised fields, the broad bed. To select a better technology test were done with the equipment.
“On Dutch beds we are prepared to support tillage tractors that are fixed framed and the broad bed we are advocating for articulate tractors.” The operational advantages, he said, is that there are three processes when it comes to tillage; ploughing, harrowing 1 and harrowing 2 “with the articulated tractors ploughing will be removed which means 23 percent of the operating cost will disappear.”
“There is a place in GuySuCo for both technologies; articulate and fixed frame,” Singh told the newspaper. He explained that while there are arguments for a particular type of tractor, GuySuCo has its people with qualifications, “And I as CEO have to listen to the technical people. The technical experts are basically saying that there is a place on GuySuCo’s field for both technologies.” He continued that since these experts are agricultural engineers with the requisite qualifications, they found in their work that the articulated machines are much more efficient on broad beds with a financial saving some 23 percent, removing at least one step in the ploughing process.
The drawbar power of the articulated machine is 171 hp while the fixed frame is 150, “this explains that it is better fuel efficiency and more power to the implements. “A machine is no good unless that thing (implement) at the back of it called the plough is powered up. So if there is more power in that thing in the back, why would you go for less power?” the CEO questioned. He added that from January to June of this year, GuySuCo has spent $42M in repairs “on the brand that Mr. Vieira is advocating for just to keep them afloat.” “Mr. Vieira is not an agricultural engineer. The people who wrote the report are agricultural engineers and the work they have done must be respected,” Singh opined. He explained that in 2022 GuySuCo bought 9 fixed frame machines and 6 articulate machines.
He clarified that when a trial was ordered to be done to test the two tractor brands, himself nor his executives were present despite claims that he had manipulated the process. “I wasn’t there during trial so how can I verify these things. None of my technical mangers were there,” Singh charged. He said that the company shareholders wanted to do a test, they issued an instruction, “we said fine, you name the day, you take the tractors you want, do what you gotta do, here is the field.” Singh also denied seeing any GAME proposal which was sent to GuySuCo sometime last June.
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