Suggestions to save sugar (Part 1)

first_imgDear Editor,On the evening of January 6, 2018, at the reception to observe India’s Republic Day, the Indian High Commissioner and Guyana’s President spoke at the event. Both of them alluded to India’s readiness to assist Guyana to develop the sugar industry.That has put to rest some Government spokesperson’s claim that they knew nothing of this, which I had mentioned on several occasions before. Now, all have admitted that the offer is there for the taking.Therefore, there is no sound reason to continue the programme to close estates. Indeed, the argument can be made not just to halt that programme, but also to reopen Wales Estate. The reopening of the Wales Estate should be done now before its infrastructure is destroyed.The task of GuySuCo’s management and the Government is to clearly identify the help that is needed and to make concrete proposals to the Indian Government and allow the industry to emerge from its present difficulties and become prosperous again.In this regard, I wish to make some proposals, not exhaustive, but some which I think can help change the fortunes of the industry.In the first place, it is clear that we need to immune the industry from the crisis which has come from outside, that is mainly low prices on the international market.To do so, we have to move towards producing new products. The PPP/C Administration had begun that process. It needs to be continued. New revenue streams must be pursued.One of the important products that can be produced by GuySuCo is ethanol. This offers great possibilities. Ethanol can take the place of 10 per cent of the gasoline that is imported for vehicles immediately. That would be a big revenue enhancement to GuySuCo.The fact that GuySuCo is still State-owned and we have in our hands Guyoil, another State-owned company, helps to facilitate this easily. The two companies can partner to blend ethanol with gasoline and sell at the pumps. Both companies stand to gain greatly. Our country can save valuable foreign exchange in reducing our gasoline imports for vehicles and equipment by 10 per cent.This is another cost-cutting measure for GuySuCo, whose fuel bill is significant. It can use fuel that it produces.Moreover, it is a product that can be exported to many countries. That can earn us quite a bit of foreign exchange and enhance GuySuCo’s fortunes greatly. GuySuCo was already pursuing a value-added policy.We have established packaging plants at Blairmont and Enmore. That can allow us to get higher prices for our sugar and we can become independent of the world market prices. This process has gone a far way.We have also seen the concern of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in relation to getting molasses for its own distillery. It is also a fact that Banks DIH Limited spends millions to import raw alcohol to produce its brand of rum.It is clear that both or one of these companies can partner with GuySuCo to produce raw alcohol right here. It would save our country the foreign exchange that Banks DIH Ltd now expends to import this product. It could earn money by supplying alcohol to our hospitals and export to the Caribbean. Banks DIH Ltd and DDL are already branded product, therefore, our returns here would be great. We could get premium prices.Sincerely,Donald RamotarFormer Presidentlast_img read more