Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud has called on the European Union to fulfill the commitment made to the Guyana government, rather than commenting on the country's sugar-production target.
Persaud said that a more constructive input in assisting the sugar industry to move forward would be collaborating to fund the Sugar Action Plan, instead of criticising the production target of 300,000 tonnes set by Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) for this year's crop.
A government statement said that Persaud was responding to a statement made by Head of Delegation for the European Commission in Guyana, Geert Heikens.
"The number set by GUYSUCO would have been based on a realistic assessment. I, myself, would have questioned the number, but they assured that based on the carry over which was about 40,000 tonnes and the work they would have done would make it possible," Persaud said.
Heikens, in an interview with the Kaieteur News, was quoted as saying that GUYSUCO has set an ambitious production target for this year.
Persaud said he would have thought that the European Commission would be sensitive to the some of the "realities" facing the sector "given the fact that the cut has impacted us severe.
Guyana had been critical of the unilateral decision of the European Union over the past few years to drastically reduce the price paid for local sweetener.
"We lost close to GUY$10 billion (US$49.2 million) last year; one would expect that as a constructive stakeholder the EU would look at how they can help and not be so rigid in terms of the conditions," he said.
The government statement said that the sugar industry has, over the years, been faced with the severe effects of reduced demands, price cuts, and climate change, all of which have taken a severe toll on its productivity.
"But due to government's stringent management, the industry has survived the rigours and, to date, has remained operational," it added.