Enmore packaging facility to be ready by November


THE new Guyana Sugar Corporation packaging facility at the Enmore Estate will be ready for operation by November this year, as the contractor puts the finishing touches on a modern addition to the sector aimed at making Guyana’s sugar industry more competitive.
Speaking at an inspection of the facility yesterday, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud expressed satisfaction with the works of the contractor and said that pressure will be kept up on them to ensure that the project meets all of the contract dates and deadlines.
The Minister noted that this was a very important project in terms of moving towards value-added products in the sugar industry. He said it is just one component of the work and that the second component will take place within the old factory building to build capacity to produce sugar of the quality that will be used in the packaging facility.
“Overall, the project is on schedule. It is about 70 to 75 percent completed and the aim is that by November we will be able to commence packaging sugar from this facility.”
He said because of the quality of sugar required, Guysuco will have to bring the sugar down from Blairmont. But by the first crop of next year, the intention is to have sugar directly from the Enmore factory coming into the packaging plant by which time the modifications would have been completed. He said there has been some delay because the company wasn’t able to work on the modification during the crop period, noting that such work had to be done during the out of crop period.
“I want to restate that this is a very important project. We are keeping a close eye on the project. It is part of the indicators for some of the resources we’re getting from the European Union and timelines being met is very important,” the Minister said.
The Minister noted that the European Union price cuts – the full measure of which is being implemented this year – will see the company losing in excess of $10 billion in potential revenue.  “That’s why the investments that the Government is making are timely, that they are getting on stream and that they perform and perform well,” he said.
The Minister said that initially, the facility will be packaging 40,000 tonnes per annum.
“We hope we can take it, once the cane is available, to 80,000 tonnes per annum. So it has that large capacity. The current capacity is larger than what is being currently produced in the East Demerara estates. That’s why there is a lot of investments being made to open up new areas of land, to increase cane [cultivation] and sugar production. We built the facility with a strategic outlook, rather than building a small facility, we built a large one so as to benefit from economies of scale,” he said.
CEO of Guysuco, Paul Bhim, said cultivation of new plots of land started in the first crop and is set to continue anytime now.
“With the weather improving as it is, we are going to start that process again, both at LBI and at Enmore,” he said.
Citing the rationale for the Government’s heavy investment in the facility, Minister Persaud said that the packaged sugar is being sold for a higher price than the bagged or bulk sugar.
He said that the Government is “on the contractor’s back” to get it done and get it done on time, even ahead of time. “We are talking of the possibilities of moving this project forward, [ahead of schedule],” he said, adding that Guysuco Chairman Dr. Nanda Kishore Gopaul visits the facility very often to assess the progress being made and to ensure quality work is done and timelines are met.
“Also we’re bringing in some external advisers, even when this is completed, to have a further look of what has been done in this regard. We have already talked about developing the skills base that is needed and we will also be looking at sourcing competent individuals from India and elsewhere to work and transition or staff, even send staff overseas for further training,” the Minister said.
He said like the Skeldon factory, this is the latest technology.
“This is a revolutionary step we’re taking within the industry. We are moving from 1930s, 1940s and jumping right ahead. This will cause a rethink of Guysuco’s human resources policies and the Board and the CEO are giving that a lot of attention,” said the Minister.
The firm Surrendra Brothers of Mumbai India is the contracting firm building the facility, which is being financed to the tune of US$12 million.