Guyana Gets USD7 mn Loan from CDB to Improve Sugar Sector

Using lessons learnt over the past few years the Guyana government will apply a loan of USD7.5 mn from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to enhance the capacity of the Guyana Sugar Corporation Incorporated (GuySuCo) to produce and harvest sugar cane on selected estates. The loan was approved by CDB’s Board of Directors on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

The goal of the project is to: reduce operational costs, improve mechanisation, improve maintenance of the extensive drainage system; secure irrigation and flood protection; and to provide for the development of critically needed non-sugar agricultural production such as rice. Rice production has been on a positive growth trajectory over the past five years.

The sugar industry, once the mainstay of the Guyanese economy, has generally been in decline but it still contributes around five per cent of GDP, and in 2013 it provided direct employment for approximately 16,000. The industry supports more than 300 services providers, and is the third largest contributor of foreign exchange. It also plays a critical socio-economic and environmental role in the predominantly low-income coastal communities where cultivation and processing are concentrated.

This loan marks CDB’s third intervention in the sugar industry in Guyana and this project will address several considerations that should result in improved productivity of sugar cane cultivation and sugar production.