Guyana Sugar (GuySuCo), the government-owned sugar company, inaugurated its packaging facility in Enmore in East Demerara, Guyana, in May 2011.
The new plant has a capacity to package around 40,000t of specialised sugar and can be expanded to handle up to 80,000t. The government invested about $12.5m in the new facility.
The Enmore facility packages high-quality branded table-ready sugar for retail trade in 0.5kg, 1kg, 5kg, 10kg and 1t quantities. All the sugar packaged by the facility comes from GuySuCo’s upgraded Skeldon sugar factory in Enmore.
Project Gold packaging plant
The new packaging plant, named Project Gold, was divided into six phases. These included the sugar facility process, conceptualisation and upgrades, civil works conceptualisation and construction, configuration, supply and installation of the sugar warehouse, sugar packaging equipment and sugar processing equipment.
Construction of the plant commenced in 2009. The foundation works were completed in January 2010 and the prefabricated building was set up by August 2010.
In the first year of operation, sugar will be supplied to the plant from Blairmont estate. It is the only facility in the region to be capable of producing the quality of sugar required by the Enmore packaging plant.
Construction of the packaging plant generated 20 jobs covering production, packaging and transportation.
The project is part of the Guyana National Action Plan (GNAP) which involves improvement of agricultural productivity, diversification, increased investment in research and development and construction of new processing facilities. The diversification strategy of the GNAP involves expanding value-added activities such as refining sugar and brand packaging.
In June 2009, GuySuCo awarded the construction contract to India-based Surendra Engineering. Penalties were attached to the contract to ensure there would be no delay in the start-up of the facility.
The decision to place penalties was taken after the government faced several delays in the construction of GuySuCo’s Skeldon factory.
Financing for Project Gold came through a grant from the European Commission. $140m was provided to the GNAP by the EU between 2006 and 2010. The grant was provided for the development of the sugar industry in Guyana. An initial $5.6m was provided by the EU in 2007 for upgrading the Skeldon factory.
The grant provided by the EU was in the form of fixed and variable tranches and channelled directly to the government’s budget.
The EU provided the grant through direct untargeted budget support. It closely monitored the spending based on performance indicators and implementation of the GNAP.
GuySuCo plant benefits
The new packaging plant is being considered as crucial to the turnaround of the sugar industry in Guyana which suffered a $6bn loss in 2008. The plant aims to improve the efficiency of the industry and expand the market for locally produced sugar. Construction of the facility is also expected to reduce the country’s dependence on bulk sugar exports.
By constructing a packaging plant, the industry is able to enter the value-added market where higher revenues can be generated at lower costs. It is estimated that the new plant will help increase revenue for the sugar industry by 50%.
GuySuCo will adopt a marketing strategy aimed at expanding direct consumption of its branded Demerara sugar range. Demand for packaged sugar has increased over the years in the Caribbean community and common market (CARICOM) states, particularly Trinidad and Tobago. GuySuCo is also planning to bring its packaged sugar to the US and the UK markets.