Provisions will be made to ensure sugar’s success

Min. Mustapha 

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha says sugar will not falter under the PPP/C Government and budgetary provisions would be put in place to support the industry until it is fully operational.

The Minister was at the time speaking at GuySuCo Employees Long Service Award ceremony, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Tuesday.

Minister Mustapha cited ongoing works to facilitate the reopening of the Skeldon, Rose Hall and the Enmore sugar estates, as indications of the Government’s commitment to reviving the industry.  Further, land preparation for the planting of the first crop for 2021 is ongoing.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha

“I want to reiterate from the Government’s perspective that sugar is here to stay and you will see the resuscitation of GuySuCo. It seems that sugar workers were [singled] out for some forms of punishment on them and their families. Their villages were decimated but we, as I said, as a Government we will revitalise GuySuCo. We will revitalise the community and we will ensure that GuySuCo once again prospers.” 

Already, over 750 persons have been rehired at the three estates, with plans to employ approximately 3,000 in 2021. The Government’s foreign currency earnings will also be given a boost in 2021, when the estates start operating. Last year, Guyana earned US$28.2 million from sugar. 

Meanwhile, GuySuCo Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Sasenarine Singh said the corporation has already produced 88,009 metric tonnes of sugar for the year. GuySuCo reached that target in August.

“I can proudly state, when we all woke up this morning, GuySuCo has already produced 88,009 metric tonnes of sugar, and weather permitting, you all will go back to these estates and you will produce 90,000 plus tonnes because I know you can do it. I have seen you putting your shoulders to the wheel. So, I am appealing to you all, let’s do this as a team, one team,” he said.

Sugar production has declined within the last five years dropping from 231,145 tonnes of sugar in 2015 to a paltry 92,256 tonnes in 2019.

The meagre production in 2020 is due to the closure of the Wales, Enmore, Skeldon and Rose Hall estates. Additionally, workers were locked down at home for two weeks during the start of production, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unseasonal rainfall in November halted production for 10 days, further stymieing production. While these challenges hampered 2020 production, the Ministry remains confident that the budgetary and other measures in place, and those anticipated in the 2021 budget, will soon revitalise the sector.