by Caribbean News Now Staff
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Two major strikes over pay are partly to blame for an estimated 500,000 tonnes of sugar cane left uncut in the fields, Guyana agriculture minister, Robert Persaud, told reporters on Wednesday at an end of year briefing.
Kaieteur News reported that Persaud noted that if the cane had reached the factories, it would have resulted in sugar production of 274,000 tonnes.
He explained that the cane would be harvested and processed in the first crop of next year, but with the amount of time they were left in the fields, he doubted that the desired sugar production would be achieved.
The minister added that problems with workers saw a poor turnout in the second crop, with an estimated attendance figure at 48 percent. The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) was hoping to boost production over the holiday weekend, but only one percent of the workers turned out on Monday, and on Tuesday it was a meagre 8 percent.
Prsaud said that the problems of the last year would help the Corporation to model a "new industry", which would involve moving more and more into mechanical harvesting to cope with absent cane cutters.