The $220B National Budget of 2014 will see an infusion of $6 billion to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco), and President Donald Ramotar explained today that much of this capital will be directed towards mechanisation of the industry, given the challenges of labour shortage it is facing.
The President, at a press briefing today, at the Office of the President, explained that in all of the estates there has been the issue of shortage of labour and obviously “we have to look at how we supplement that labour shortage with equipment,” he said.
For instance at the Uitvlugt estate, West Coast Demerara, the average turn-out is somewhere around 43 percent, President Ramotar said. He said that in fact there is no estate where “you can talk about an 80 percent turn-out.’
The Head of State said that a lot of this money will have to be channelled to changing the layout of the land to make it machinery friendly and “also to use all the new techniques in planting, in harvesting, etc, etc, most of the money is intended to go in that direction.”
The need for modernisation has to do with meeting the issue of changing weather patterns and their constraints on crop production, the President said.
“I am told that from 2005 to now the opportunity days to do the various operations in the industry, which include reaping, planting, land preparation and so forth, are being considerably reduced…so we have to be looking and dealing with those issues to get the industry forward,” he said.
The injection to the sugar industry will also sustain the livelihood of more than 18,000 employees and about 120,000 people who directly or indirectly benefit from the industry. It ensures that the rice industry continues to benefit from the yearly drainage and irrigation expenditure of Guysuco.
Moreover it will ensure the continuation of an industry that is still one of the largest components of Guyana’s economy.