President Donald Ramotar says much of the $6B earmarked for GuySuCo in this year’s budget will be directed towards mechanisation of the industry in light og labour challenges.
The president, at a press briefing yesterday, at the Office of the President, explained that in all of the estates there has been the issue of shortage of labour and obviously “we have to look at how we supplement that labour shortage with equipment.”
For instance at the Uitvlugt estate, West Coast Demerara, the average turn-out is somewhere around 43 percent, President Ramotar said. He added that there was no estate where “you can talk about an 80 percent turn-out.”
The Head of State said that a lot of the money would have to be channelled to changing the layout of the land to make it machinery friendly and “also to use all the new techniques in planting, in harvesting, etc, etc, most of the money is intended to go in that direction.”
The need for modernisation has to do with meeting the issue of changing weather patterns and their constraints on crop production, the President said.
“I am told that from 2005 to now the opportunity days to do the various operations in the industry, which include reaping, planting, land preparation and so forth, are being considerably reduced…so we have to be looking and dealing with those issues to get the industry forward,” he said.
The government has said that the injection to the sugar industry will also sustain the livelihood of more than 18,000 employees and about 120,000 people who directly or indirectly benefit from the industry. Additionally, it ensures that the rice industry continues to benefit from the yearly drainage and irrigation expenditure of GuySuCo.