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By: Kiana WilburgWhen it comes to safeguarding the future of the sugar industry, top officials within the sector believe that one of the best options on the table at the moment is diversification.Clive ThomasAlready, plans have been presented to the Government to have lands at the Skeldon Sugar Estate be used for the cultivation of aromatic rice and other hybrid varieties that have a high value on the world market.However, GuySuCo board members have indicated that the plan for diversification will result in social implications which may adversely affect the lives of hundreds of families that depend on the industry for their livelihood.In this regard, Kaieteur News understands that the Guyana Sugar Corporation intends to lease lands to employees who would be made ?redundant? to cultivate crops consistent with GuySuCo?s diversification programme,[url=http://www.wholesalejerseyssale.us@#$%&/]China Jerseys[/url], the Green economy and the Regional Food Self Sufficiency philosophies. It foresees that support from the European Union in this regard, may be possible.SEVEN TO THREEAdditionally,[url=http://www.cheapnfljerseysmr.us@#$%&/]Authentic NFL Jerseys Wholesale[/url], GuySuCo once given the green light,[url=http://www.nfljerseyscheaponline.us@#$%&/]Cheap Jerseys Online[/url], intends to get involved in the recruitment of expertise for the reorganization and reengineering of the sugar industry.According GuySuCo board members, ?The proposed rationalization of the sugar industry from seven to three estates (Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt) is a complex process which requires specialist expertise not available locally. We believe that the entity should take advantage of technical assistance funding available through support agencies such as the European Union (EU) to fund a team with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience for such a project.?SALE OF LANDSAlong with the revival of the sector, the Guyana Sugar Corporation is committed to changing the state of affairs regarding its billion dollar debt. Currently, the company is neck deep in about $80B in debt.With this in mind, top officials in the company are of the firm view that it should engage in the sale of lands which are not suitable for agricultural purposes. This will also be in keeping with its diversification plans. The GuySuCo Board members stated that the sale of the lands in that regard would generate funds for the reduction of the company?s debt and the financing of its capital programme.As currently structured, the Guyana Sugar Corporation cannot be sustained.If the status quo remains, subsidies exceeding $18B and $20B would be required in the next two years and thereafter. GuySuCo?s board members have come to terms with the reality that the price to turn sugar around is too high. A high level team has since communicated this to Cabinet. During that meeting, members of government were told that even if all the capital was to be provided for the state entity, GuySuCo would remain a significant loss maker. The estimated operating losses would be more than $10B annually.In the circumstances, two Government Ministers told Kaieteur News that based on presentations made by GuySuCo officials, funds injected into the sugar industry would be wasted, if such injection is made in the absence of any plans for restructuring and diversification. The Government officials agreed that radical reorganization and diversification are urgently needed. Recently,[url=http://www.cheapjerseysshare.us@#$%&/]NFL Jerseys Supply[/url], GuySuCo Chairman, Dr. Clive Thomas, said that the assets of the industry are ?rundown?.He noted that factories, agricultural fleet and field infrastructure were all inherited in a terrible state. GuySuCo Board members said that compounding the issue is the fact that the sugar management and technical support are weak and inexperienced. But one of the priority issues for the Chairman remains reducing the sector?s heavy reliance on bailouts. Dr. Thomas said that the entity hopes to do this through diversification. ?What we are projecting is that we would use some funds to pursue the diversification of the industry. We see bailouts rising for about two to three years and then falling dramatically by 2020.The bailouts, or need for it, can fall by 2020. We hope to pursue diversification of some of the estates, one of which includes Wales.? Lending much credence to the Chairman?s position was Anthony Vieira. Vieira who once served as a GuySuCo Board member has been appointed head of the state entity?s Diversification Unit.Vieira agreed that diversification of the sugar industry can bring an end to the sector?s reliance on billion-dollar bailouts. He said that the Unit is currently in the process of coordinating a diversification process with regard to aquaculture and the cultivation of rice. Vieira said that the Unit is awaiting a USA study on the feasibility of GuySuCo?s proposed aquaculture venture.?For the time being, I can say that the people conducting the study believe that this is a very feasible project, and that aquaculture can be many times more profitable than growing cane,? Vieira added A number of options on the way forward for the sugar industry were presented to Cabinet,[url=http://www.cheapjerseysnear.us@#$%&/]wholesale jerseys[/url], recently .Speaking on the discussions that occurred in this regard between Government and the team from GuySuCo was Minister of State,[url=http://www.2017draftshop@#$%&/adoree-jackson/]Adoree Jackson Authentic Jersey[/url], Joseph Harmon. Harmon said that the officials presented a number of alternatives regarding the way forward with the sector.The Minister declined, however, to reveal what those ?options? were. The options up for consideration include privatization ? as recommended in the Commission of Inquiry into GuySuCo ? and the most extreme being the closure of the sector. Another recommendation made to Cabinet was on the need to bring an end to the production of bulk sugar at the Skeldon Sugar Estate. Kaieteur News understands that the US$200 million factory is in dire need of costly repairs. ?If you only knew the cost to refurbish the factory, it would blow your mind,? the GuySuCo Chairman asserted.?Skeldon needs to be divested. We thought it would have been saved or salvaged by a mechanization project and that was not helpful. Then to get the costs down to competitive levels, moves were made to involve private cane farmers in supplying cane to Skeldon. That, too, did not work. The reality before us is that the factory has lots of faults; it is badly designed and poorly constructed.?Thomas added,[url=http://www.salecheapjerseys.us@#$%&/]NFL Jerseys Cheap[/url], ?The factory is deteriorating. New steel is needed, some of the furnaces don?t work, some of the boilers don?t work?the factory is just not properly built. The cost for the repairs needed is about, if not over, US$60M ($12B). It is that big of a disaster.? Just recently the sugar sector received a whopping $2B in assistance from the national purse. This financial support is to help meet routine expenditure, and is in relation to the second crop for the sector.The cost to repair Skeldon alone would be six times that bailout. The amount needed to fix the problems facing Skeldon is also more than the $11B ploughed into the sugar industry for the entire year. Government was also presented with the option to diversify Rose Hall /Providence and the East Demerara estates. It was noted that in addition to the Wales Estate, the estates at East Demerara and Rose Hall are underperforming and should be transitioned into diversification.