The Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo) Wales Estate has been identified to play a major role in government’s thrust to rebrand and revitalise the sugar company to make it viable.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, Government is examining the feasibility of converting the factory into plants that will process dairy products and fruit juices among other products.
The re-organisation of the West Demerara factory will create opportunities for local farmers since Minister Holder foresees lands which will no longer be utilised for sugar cane cultivation being allocated to them for cattle rearing, and cultivation of various crops, which will be required for the operations of the juice plant.
“We can see the land being used for dairy production, and we can see some land being made available to people in the area so that they could farm and provide milk, provide fruit juices, provide things of that nature, and we would want to see that replicated in other estates.”
He said, “This administration has now rationalised the Wales situation where you join Wales and Uitvlugt so that the Uitvlugt factory can now work at 100% efficiency.” The latter is operating at 50 percent productivity.
The merger is in keeping with government’s quest to diversify and make GuySuCo more efficient, the Agriculture Minister emphasised.
He expressed satisfaction with what has been achieved with the estate because it presents “…an opportunity to convert the estate, into a model for other areas within the sugar industry’s diversification.”
Agricultural workers at Wales have been offered employment at Uitvlugt where there is enough work for all of them, according to GuySuCo, but some have opted for severance pay.
Minister Holder explained that the Wales factory is the oldest in the country, and it is inefficient, hence the decision to convert it into a viable alternative. The ministry had earlier stated that the factory would require tremendous amounts of investments to rehabilitate it, investments which the government could not afford.
The Government’s thrust to rebrand GuySuCo as an agricultural entity is hinged on the company being heavily dependent on government’s subventions and the imminent removal of preferential prices for sugar on the world market.