GuySuCo must diversify – Malcolm Harripaul
DPI, Guyana, Monday, August 26, 2019
Former GDF officer and PPP member, Malcolm Harripaul, in a spirited interview on Vybz 100.1 FM stressed the need for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to diversify its revenue streams so that they can once again become a sustainable corporation.
“GuySuCo cannot just produce Sugar, it has to be diversified. It has to be producing, for example, ethanol; it has to be producing other crops for export. There are many crops in demand in North America and Europe. Superfruits like Papaya, pomegranate, soursop, are in demand and Guysuco should be looking to produce and export them, not just in raw form but also get involved with Agro-processing,” Harripaul said.
According to Harripaul, the diversification of the sugar industry was advised years ago by the European Union (EU) who had dispatched funds to several sugar-producing countries to help them in their diversification efforts. This was done so that countries benefitting from the EU’s preferential pricing would not suffer when the system came to an end.
“The PPP government got 10 years notice from the EU and the EU also gave give the PPP government $34Billion to put in the sugar industry to diversify and to develop the sugar industry and prepare the industry for the day when the preferential quota would go and you have to paddle yuh own canoe.”
Despite this, the then PPP administration instead continued to thrust funding into the industry, without ever trying to address the core issues and return the industry to a state of self-sustainability.
Harripaul explained that this was done because the PPP viewed the sugar industry as a political tool, “…to wage its political battles.”
The Coalition Government has been pushing the current GuySuCo board to have other avenues explored. Meanwhile, the administration has been right-sizing and restructuring the industry to make it sustainable and profitable. The government has also ensured the former sugar worker received their severance packages and more so provided Industry Skills Training Enhancement Programme where the ex-employees are prepared for alternative employment.
Recently, the corporation has been looking to move into tourism as a means of adding more, sustainable, profitable, revenue streams.