Floodwaters devastate Albion Estate

…entire cultivation under water
…GuySuCo earns $738M in revenue in 1st half of 2021

By Jarryl Bryan

Despite selling less sugar than before and facing challenges posed by heavy rainfall that has devastated its largest estate, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has increased its revenue to $738 million for the first half of 2021.

Cane under water at Albion Estate

This is according to GuySuCo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sase Singh, who in a sit-down with this publication provided statistics for the first crop. While they were unable to meet their target for sugar production, Singh explained that GuySuCo was still able to increase its revenues despite selling less sugar.
According to Singh, President Dr Irfaan Ali had charged GuySuCo at a previous meeting with top management with the task of diversifying and creating more value-added products for the market.
“Our original target was 42,604. GuySuCo made 29,650 metric tonnes of sugar. We were short by about 12,000 metric tonnes of sugar. But the reality is, while we produced less sugar, GuySuCo made $738 million in revenue for the period January to June, 2021.”
“…and credit for this has to go to his Excellency the President. At our very first meeting with him, he planted a seed in our head. Change the sales mix,” Singh explained.
According to Singh, this is just what GuySuCo did, going back to the drawing board and implementing changes in the sales mix. He noted that GuySuCo was successful in its sales despite selling 12,000 metric tonnes less sugar compared to last year. Going forward, the CEO explained that they have set themselves the production target of 49,971 tonnes of sugar for the second crop.
“So, the second crop, if the rain stops today, we’re aiming to produce about 49,971 metric tonnes… but we know that’s a tough task, recognising what is happening in the weather conditions. But we’re hoping and that’s the only thing we can do at this time.”
“We’re putting all the infrastructure in place at Blairmont and Uitvlugt to make sure we can harvest the cane, we can produce the sugar and we can get on with what we have,” Singh also explained.

Meanwhile, Singh explained that a flood assessment will be done at Albion, GuySuCo’s largest estate which has also been the worst hit estate by the flooding. He noted that a final report on the flood is likely to be done in three weeks.
But based on what they know now, Albion has been hit with 74 per cent more rainfall in the first half of the year than the 66-year annual average of 736 millimetres. This has resulted in the entire cane cultivation at Albion being inundated with water and even if the rain stops now, the situation will still result in Albion falling short of its production target.
He added that the reality is that the Albion cultivation is underwater as the sugar industry has been hard hit by the recent heavy rainfall.
“The sugar industry has been hit by rain and more rain. The authorities have declared a category two national disaster in some areas. And Albion Estate is one of those areas… if the rain stops today, Albion will have a shortfall of about 12,000 metric tonnes of sugar across this year,” the CEO explained.
“While it looks very good on the East Coast of Demerara because of two things, the Hope Canal project has done a fantastic job, as well as GuySuCo and NDIA (National Drainage and Irrigation Authority) having all their pumps on the seawall functioning, the situation is not the same in central Corentyne.”
Guyana has been inundated by heavy rains since May, which has caused widespread flooding. The devastation includes submerged buildings and vehicles with adverse effects on crops, livestock and health.
It has been noted that the rainfall experienced in May alone was recorded as the second highest level of rainfall across the country in the last 40 years. Last month, the President formally declared the flooding a national disaster.