Guyana tells EU stop criticizing and help
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday February 16, 2011 – Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud has told the European Union that instead of criticizing the country’s sugar production targets, it should just fulfill commitments it has made to the Guyana government.
Persaud’s comments came in response to a statement by Head of the European Union in Guyana, Geert Heikens, published in the local Kaieteur News publication. He was quoted as saying that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) had set a too ambitious a target – 300,000 tonnes – for this year.
The Agriculture Minister acknowledged that he, too, had questioned the figure but had been assured that it could be reached. And he said that rather than “offer commentaries on what is possible and not possible”, the EU should look at how it can assist the sugar industry in moving forward by collaborating to fund Guyana’s Sugar Action Plan.
Guyana saw its lowest production in two decades in 2009. It produced 220,000 tonnes of sugar and Heikens said failure to reach the target that year may have been responsible for the country losing 14 million Euros (US$18.9 million) for the industry.
“One would expect that as a constructive stakeholder the EU would look at how they can help and not be so rigid in terms of the conditions,” Persaud said.
“We had anticipated that the EU would be flexible for the Sugar Action Plan and that there will be more consultations as we move forward.”
Guyana’s sugar industry has, over the years been faced with the severe effects of reduced demands, price cuts, industrial action and climate change, all of which have taken a severe toll on productivity.
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