Guyana is producing sufficient sugar to satisfy local demand, despite low production due to bad weather and poor turnout by cane harvesters, according to a senior official.
Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco), Paul Bhim said enough sugar was being produced to guarantee supply of the 24,000 tons to the local market.
Guyana has in the past imported cheaper sugar from Guatemala so that the local sugar could have been sold to the more lucrative European market.
He, however, said the state-owned corporation would have to sell less of the sweetener to Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname so that as much as possible could be sold to Europe. For the year, Guyana has sold 50,000 of the 190,000 ton quota to Europe.
The corporation produced 48,000 tons of sugar, 23,000 tons short of the projected target for the first crop.
Bhim said Guysuco was optimistic of producing much of the projected 155,000 tons for the second crop but much depended on dry weather to allow the bell-loaders and harvesters to enter the cane-fields.
Ideally, Guysuco had hoped that there would have been enough workers to manually harvest the cane but on an average only 51 percent of them usually turn out for duty across the industry.
“The reality is that they have drifted from us,” said Bhim. Industry experts say that harvesters are turning to better paying jobs in the construction industry and in other cases persons are better qualified and do not take up jobs as harvesters.