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Drought withers Guyana cane fields

Published:Wednesday | March 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Caribbean's biggest supplier of sugar to Europe and the United States says drought is threatening its vast sugarcane fields.

The state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) says it is rushing water pumps to fields where plants have begun to turn pale and stunted.

Guysuco chief executive officer, Errol Hanoman, said he worries that dry conditions in the South American country will persist through May.

Meteorologists say a total of 93 millimetres (4 inches) of rain fell in January and February compared to 250 millimetres (10 inches) in the same period last year.

Guysuco exports more than 163,000 tonnes of sugar to Europe and another 11,000 tonnes to the US each year.

Jamaica, the second largest Caribbean market, produced 123,000 tonnes and shipped 108,000 tonnes at the close of the 2009 crop year in June.

- AP