GEORGETOWN: The Government of Guyana says the sugar industry remains viable despite many challenges facing the sector.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said he remains optimistic that the Guyana Sugar Corporation would meet its target of 216,000 tons this year. He said all seven factories were functioning and that production levels, so far this year, stood at 18,000 tons.
“I think by 2020, sugar will reach the target established of 400,000 tons,” said Dr. Ramsammy. “Those who think sugar is dead are dead wrong. Some of the factories with which we have had issues, are functioning relatively well at this time. Enmore, which was one of the earlier estates that started production, is about 4,600 tons and Skeldon, which was one of the last of the seven factories to begin working, is at around 1,600 tons.”
Ramsammy said that most of the estates were also meeting their target thanks to improved weather conditions and that the Donald Ramotar administration would continue its support for the sector.
The agriculture minister said the decision by government to support the industry was justifiable given the fact that the industry has for several decades in the past provided the mainstay of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
“We are not investing more that we are reaping, the industry has served Guyana well for centuries, and like every other industry it has its difficulties and it requires support from the government so we will give support,” said Ramsammy. “Those who claim that we are subsidizing the industry too much, they are wrong, sugar has contributed to the welfare of the nation, large numbers of people are benefiting and some of the needs of society are being addressed as a result of the operation of the sugar industry.”