Aug 05, 2022 Letters
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is aware of a letter penned by one Mr. Narendra Lall and published in the online version of Kaieteur News yesterday (August 4, 2022). GuySuCo wishes to point out that since agriculture is a science, everything in the sector is evidence based, and Mr. Lall was not judicious in consulting the literature to understand the direct correlation between rainfall and Tonnes Cane per Hectare (TCH). Any agriculture professional would agree that the morphological and physiological characteristics of the sugar cane deteriorate when the climatic conditions experience above normal rainfall.
Just to gently guide Mr. Lall based on the literature, the learned Professors Samui, John and Kulkarni (2003), in the Journal of Agricultural Physics and Professor Biswas (1988) in his piece on the “Agriclimatology of the sugar cane crop” endorse the accuracy of what is happening in Guyana. It is definitely proven that intense rain fall will impact sugar yields. Therefore, any attempts to cast blame for the current state of sugar yields and create an illusion that the state of affairs is due to some doing of the CEO or any other functionary of the Corporation is emphatically misinformed and unprofessional on the part of the writer.
The empirical evidence will illustrate that the average long term mean annual rainfall data between the periods 1956 to 2021 was 1,993 mm. Over the last two years (August 2020 – July 2022), the average annual rainfall experienced in the industry was 2,829 mm; more than 836 mm of rain than normal. But what was quite alarming over the last two years was the fact that extremely intense rainfalls occurred during the months of April, August, October and November.
Moreover, these are historically some of the drier months of the year when the sugar industry is expected to make its greatest stride with respect to ploughing, planting and harvesting the fields. Hence the outcome of all this work is better sugar production from the factories.
From the rainfall records, it is clear that the driest years over the last 15 years were 2018 and 2019. In 2018, the rainfall was 1,001 mm below the 67 years average. In such conditions therefore, there is a stronger chance of better cane yields, resulting in better sugar quality; hence higher sugar output. The same can be said for 2014 and 2019.
However, from the table above, we see that 2021 and the latest projection for 2022 indicates expected rainfall to be 958 mm and 597 mm above the 67 years average. Again, this climatic condition is not conducive for sugar production.
Since November 2020, the industry has been experiencing an extraordinary feature in the weather patterns with higher than normal intensity of rainfall in some of the traditionally dryer months (April, August, September and November).
It is important to note that November 2020 experienced the worst downpour when examining rainfall in the same month for the past 15 years. Same phenomenon occurred in April and May 2021, resulting in the worse flood in the industry for 40 years, and a National Disaster was declared in Guyana. Then in June 2022, the Sugar Estates again experienced their worst downpour for that particular month during the 15-year period. And all of these statements can be
substantiated by empirical evidence which Mr. Lall failed to consult.
Notwithstanding these two years of challenging climatic conditions, the Corporation is committed towards progressing the agenda of ploughing more lands, and producing more sugar in the future. To this end, only on August 3, 2022, the CEO and a technical team met in two gatherings with the large rice farmers in Region 5 to explore a business venture to use private sector machinery to add to the fleet of state owned machinery on the Blairmont Estate to leverage our synergies in these difficult circumstances. And the same was done by a technical team from Albion with the private cane farmers at Skeldon.
While the Corporation thanks the Lalls and Balls of Guyana for their commentary, their attempt to personalise and pull down, rather than add value to the process, is most regretful and we again ask, to what end? Is the agenda of the Lalls and Balls to rebuild the agriculture sector in Guyana or to destroy it?
GuySuCo’s agenda remains totally focused on the implementation of its five-year strategic plan and to return the industry to the point of 100,000 MT of sugar with four (4) fully functional sugar Estates.
What the Lalls and Balls are conveniently forgetting is the historical fact that all these sizeable production numbers they are quoting were produced by eleven (11) Estates and then seven (7) Estates. The reality today is there are only three (3) grinding Estates. It is just arithmetic; how difficult is that to figure out?
GuySuCo implores persons who wish to contribute meaningfully to the development of the Corporation to seek the truth by verifying and corroborating all information before seeking to publish half-truths towards their own personal agenda. These dastardly acts of trying to pull down using half-truths rather than build up with constructive suggestions could have an adverse and direct impact on 7,877 families whose husbands and wives work in the sugar industry. Don’t
these people have a right to put their shoulders to the wheel and build up the sugar industry just like the Lalls and Balls had in the yester-years?
GuySuCo Marketing and Communications Department
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