– international interest is pouring in the Welsh Development Agency
By Navendra Seoraj
OVER 3,000 people will be employed by Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) next year to assist not only in resuscitating the sick sugar industry, but in particular driving the reopening of the three closed sugar estates, which n being revitalized by the government.
In 2017, the former Coalition Government A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU + AFC) announced the closure of several sugar estates across the country. On the move, four sugar estates were closed, and 7,000 sugar workers lost their jobs.
Plans are under way not only to rehire people, but to return this industry to viability through coordinated and prudent management, which is expected to come from both private and public stakeholders.
The sugar corporation has already hired 750 people to carry out preliminary work at the Rose Hall, Skeldon and Enmore estates, but Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has said another 3,000 people will be employed as the work intensifies .
“We will be employing an additional 3,000 workers … these workers will be employed to prepare for the reopening of these estates … there will be planting; we need plant nurseries and we need to plant a large hectare of land to get proper cans for the factories, ”said Minister Mustapha during a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
It was reported that the Rose Hall Estate will be the first of the three estates to be reopened and is expected to start grinding in 2022.
Minister Mustapha said that work was progressing well at Rose Hall, and there is even hope that production would start late next year or early 2022.
“We are optimistic that we can get these estates up and running by the end of next year or early 2022 to start operations, and by that time nearly 5,000 workers will be re-housed,” the minister said.
An additional 3,000 people will be employed when the government opens the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) next year. The WDA concept was conceptualized after it was decided that the Welsh Sugar Estate, a facility that once thrived back in its prime, had been destroyed beyond repair after being closed in 2017.
The Welsh Development Agency will be tasked with developing not only agriculture, but agri-industries, processing facilities, manufacturing, industrial development and this facility would see special incentives.
Minister Mustapha said it is likely that although 3,000 new jobs will be created, most workers will come from the pool of retrained workers (mainly Welsh residents) ).
While the minister did not say when exactly the facility will be opened, he said President Irfaan Ali will make an announcement on this topic before the end of the year.
“As it stands now, we are looking at funding to start development work … already, we have received a number of applications and offers from multinational companies and agencies to establish and invest in that authority,” said Minister Mustapha.
Those investors have since been referred to the Guyana Investment Office (Go-Invest), so they can access the relevant agencies. It has recently been reported that Guyana’s sugar industry has attracted one of the world’s richest provinces, Dubai, which has indicated a strong interest in investing here.
They indicated their willingness to invest, so another team recently came back to look at sugar… a team from GuySuCo [The Guyana Sugar Corporation] accompanying the visiting team on a tour of all the estates … so they went to inspect all the estates already, ”said Minister Mustapha during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle last Wednesday.
The visiting team consisted primarily of experts, who had a specific task of analyzing the operations and viability of Guyana’s sugar estates.
“I spoke to them after their estate visit and they seemed very interested … remember that they are technical people and not policy makers, so whatever they observe they have to go back to the policymakers … but they were impressed by the policy makers … but they were very impressed. the sugar industry in Guyana, in terms of investment etc, ”said the agriculture minister.
Dubai is no stranger to sugar, as it is home to the world’s largest port sugar refinery, Al Khaleej Sugar Co.