Pres Ali: Guyana will work alongside Guatemala to revive the sugar industry
The Government of Guyana has pledged to spare no effort in its efforts to revitalize the country’s sugar industry.
The announcement was made by the President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who revealed that Guyana would work with Guatemala to make it a reality.
Ali said Guatemala is the world’s fourth-largest sugar exporter and the second-largest in Latin and Central America.
The country’s sugar industry creates 80,000 direct jobs and 410,000 indirect jobs, the president said.
At the time, he was briefing the nation through a press conference on Guyana’s recent participation in the Thirty-Third Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Belize during a press conference at State House.
The president pointed out that Guatemala has 11 sugar mills with a cultivation area of 251,000 hectares producing 10.7 metric tons per hectare, with an export income of over $1 billion. This is compared to the 49,000 hectares of Guyana available for sugar producing around five tonnes per hectare.
“We will look at best practices in Guatemala and Guyana and match our operations on the management side, on the operations side, on the investment side, but more importantly the end result is sustainability, job creation, economic expansion and sustainability. of the industry,” Ali said.
The government, in its commitment to keep the sugar industry alive, has allocated $6 billion in the 2022 budget to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to turn around the industry’s field and factory operations. The allocated money will be injected into factories in Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt, and will ensure that the industry produces more value-added products for the national and international market.
Guyana and Guatemala recently held discussions on the sidelines of the fourth CARICOM-SICA summit in Belize.
In a joint statement last week, the presidents of the two countries expressed their aspirations to develop broad and effective cooperation for mutual benefit, particularly in the areas of security, climate change, agriculture and food safety.
Ali said the two countries were finalizing a memorandum of understanding, adding that in two weeks Guyana would finalize an exchange visit and program of action with Guatemala.
The President further pointed out that during the Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government, discussions were held on high-value commodities that could be developed in the region. These include palm oil, coconut, spices, cocoa, coffee and hemp.
He said CARICOM spent around $142 million in 2020 importing palm oil, $48.5 million on cocoa and $9.5 million on importing coffee. He said these are markets that Guyana could tap into by expanding its production capacity.