$1.9B Albion packaging facility will help to return sugar to profitability – Minister Mustapha

The state-of-the-art packaging facility coming to the Albion/Port Mourant Sugar Estate, Corentyne, Berbice, will cost $1.9 billion, and is expected to be completed by February 2024.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, who on Thursday, set the records straight in the National Assembly about the massive project, said it will further drive government’s commitment to make sugar sufficient and profitable again.

“This will be a modernised plant where we will be producing and packaging more sugar, because what we have found out (is) that the packaged sugar is in demand in our country,” the minister told the House.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha MP

He explained that the ultra-modern facility, which will be outfitted with high-end equipment, is projected to be 75 by 75 meters, with 10,000 metric tons storage capacity.

The minister stated that the facility will accommodate five packaging lines/machines. Each of the machines is expected to produce 15 metric tons per day, which will provide approximately 7,500, two-kilogram packets of ‘Demerara Gold’ sugar.

“That’s about 37,500 packs of Demerara Gold per day during the grinding season. Annual output from this factory every year is almost a million packs of Demerara Gold per year,” Minister Mustapha noted.  

Minister Mustapha said some $400 million has been allocated to move the portion of the Enmore packaging [plant line to Albion this year.

He explained that with the magnitude of work, construction cannot be completed in one year, noting that it is a multi-year project.

The minister stated that the Enmore packaging plant was restarted in October 2020, after being closed by the previous APNU+AFC Government.

He said 42 workers who were placed on the breadline were rehired in 2020, with employment expenses amounting to $1.56 million, while material cost amounted to $3.03 million between October to December.

According to the minister, another $94.95 million was allocated to the factory. Some $47.99 million was exhausted for employment, and $46.9 million was expended on material cost.

Accordingly, between January to April 2022, $15.8 million was utilised for employment expenses, and $46.9 million for procurement of materials, amounting to $94.95 million. Outside service also exhausted about $0.01 million.

The Enmore estate has two working packaging lines, one of which will be moved to the Blairmont estate, and the other to the Albion Estate.

Minister Mustapha also outlined that the Blairmont Sugar Estate will see major expansion, and will be able to have a 5,000 metric ton capacity, at a cost of $800 million.

Meanwhile, the facility at Enmore will see a $7 billion (US $35 million) investment by GUYSONS and K+B Investments Inc. (GK+B), that will create over 500 jobs for villagers and communities along the East Coast corridor.

The company will establish oil field manufacturing facilities at the sugar plant that will retain sugar workers, and other persons. President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said the initial startup of the company to get the processing facility at the estate functional will see an investment of $1.5 billion ($US 7.5 million) and the creation of 150 jobs. The intention is also to hire sugar workers who lost their jobs.