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Guysuco surpasses first crop target but nothing to boast about

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) has already surpassed its first crop target but the President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), Komal Chand says there is nothing to shout about because it was a low target.

“First of all you have to recognise that the target was low…The fact that you have a low target and you surpass it, there is not anything much to celebrate or to gloat about,” he said.

Chand said except for grinding by Skeldon and East Demerara Estates, the corporation has already produced more than the targeted 74,616 tonnes of the sweetener. The union official said he would have been happy if the target was between 95,000 and 100,000 tonnes.

But President Donald Ramotar had Wednesday night, speaking at the European Union’s (EU) reception, suggested that surpassing the target was an achievement.“By tomorrow (Thursday) I expect to hear the news that the sugar industry would have achieved its target for the first crop of this year,” he said. He reiterated his optimism that Guysuco would “once again enjoy greater stability and progress”.

Chand said that the weather was good and there were few work stoppages.

The GAWU official recalled that the corporation did “very bad” in the first crop last year, producing a mere 48,000 tonnes.

Reflecting on Guysuco’s better days, he said 101,000 tonnes of sugar had been produced in 2001 and 90,000 tonnes in 2009.

With Guysuco hoping to produce 216,000 tonnes this year, Chand again noted that that figure would be a low target. “That looks achievable because again it’s way down from what it used to be some years ago but it still will be far from what should be the ideal production, a desirable production,” he said.

About 10 years ago, Guysuco had produced an average of 320,000 tonnes.

The corporation and the union have always traded words about the root cause for low production, with management citing strikes and bad weather and the workers’ representative pointing to poor management including bad plant husbandry.

Guysuco is barely producing sufficient sugar to satisfy its domestic and European markets.

The highly indebted and low producing corporation’s wage and salary bill is more than 60 percent of its revenue.