Three remaining estates could still drive economy – Dr. Thomas

The three sugar estates that have been allowed to continue operating can still do much for the economy, Chairman of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Dr. Clive Thomas has said. The corporation’s game plan is to continue the production of sugar in the three estates, seeking to make them competitive; noting that said the Albion Estate has a lot of advantages.

GUYSUCO’s Chairman Dr. Clive Thomas.

GUYSUCO’s Chairman Dr. Clive Thomas.

“We are hoping that in the end, it can produce what we call plantation white sugar which we can sell to the other CARICOM region and have a Common External Tariff (CEF) which will protect the sale in that market,” Dr. Thomas told the Department of Public Information (DPI) recently.

GuySuCo has preferential access to the United States (US) Market for a limited amount. However, he said when added to the CARICOM and domestic markets, it is hoped that it would be sold at a price which would make it profitable for the corporation to continue producing sugar.

According to Dr. Thomas, the world price for sugar currently stands between 13 and 14 cents per pound. However, it is possible that with the markets there could be a price averaging between 25 and 28 cents per pound.

“We are hoping to drive the cost down to that level in these three remaining estates, he explained.

Dr. Thomas, pointed out that the price before was averaging at 45 cents per pound around all the estates, however, the corporation is hoping that “with the most productive estates being utilised by us, we will get a better price and lower cost”.

“For instance, at Uitvulgt, when they started there were no cane farmers, but at this point in time, 58 percent of the sugar being delivered from Uitvlugt is using the cane from farmers.” Dr. Thomas explained there has been a big increase in the role of cane farming, even within a short period of time. He said many persons have also been indicating interests in purchasing land for private cane farming.

With this, he said a decision was taken at the level of the GuySuCo board to advertise and lay down the criteria for persons who are interested in cane farming land.

Government, back in early 2017, had announced that with the rightsizing of the sugar industry, it would keep the estates, Blairmont (on the West Bank Berbice, Albion Corentyne) and Uitvlugt (on the West Coast of Demerara), opened.