Guyana’s Once Lucrative Sugar Industry Fast Grinding to a Halt

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday June 29, 2017 – Guyanese officials are forecasting bitter times ahead as international prices for sugar continue to plummet at a time when the government’s GYD$9 billion (US$43.2 million) subsidy will end over the next two months.

According to the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GUYSUCO), over the past six months the world market price for sugar has dropped significantly, to between US$250 –US$275 per tonne. Earlier this year, the price was US$396 per tonne.

GUYSUCO’s chief executive officer Errol Hanoman told Demerara Waves online news the company’s cash flow is in peril and the focus is now on tapping in to markets which will yield the best price for their produce.

Annually, GUYSUCO supplies 65,000 tonnes of bagged and packaged sugar to Caribbean and local markets. Another 12,000 tonnes of raw sugar is exported to the North American market while the remainder is sold on the European market. The supply to Europe for the second crop of 2017 will total some 70,000 tonnes.

Hanoman said they are targeting the “better priced” local and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) markets, even as he admitted they would have no choice but to rely on the European market where the price is on par with the world market.

The GUYSUCO CEO explained that sugar would face even more stiff competition from beet sugar, which will be available on the European Union (EU) market.

“This may result in reduced sugar prices in Europe. Due to the competition with beet producers, the price paid by the refiners for raw cane sugar (as supplied by GUYSUCO) will be more in line with the world market price, which currently is trading at US$275 per tonne, and the forecast is that it will not increase significantly in the near future,” Hanoman said.

Against this backdrop, GUYSUCO has appealed to workers to turn out and assist their estates in harvesting all canes and maximize on sugar production.

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