Rice Cereal Factory operates on market demand – management
…says factory not closed…disputes Region 2 Chairman claimsHead of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), Professor Suresh Narine, has refuted claims by Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) Chairman, Devanand Ramdatt, that the $100 million rice cereal factory has been non-operational for a period.Ramdatt last week told Guyana Times that the factory operated for a while, but has now ceased operating because of unknown reasons. He added that as far as the statistics show, the factory made very little impact in terms of the unemployment rate and its contribution to the overall economic development of the region.The Morning Glory Rice Cereal FactoryHowever, Professor Narine on Monday disputed those claims, noting that such statements could have been avoided had the Chairman taken up the invitation to visit the facility and engage management.“We wish to reiterate this invitation, as we strongly believe that misunderstanding leading to misinformation can be avoided through dialogue and cooperation. It is rather unfortunate that the Regional Chairman, as reported in your newspaper article, was under the impression that the facility has been closed down. We are delighted to help inform him that this is indeed not the case,” Professor Narine said in a statement to the Guyana Times.In relation to the operation of the factory, the IAST head noted that the plant began commercial operation from October 2017, and in December would have produced enough cereal to meet the demand for January 2018. He added that, given the availability of stocks, management used the downtime to service the plant.Thus far, the factory has produced 7.565 tons of cereal, utilizing 6.890 tons of rice, 1.148 tons of sugar, 0.306 tons of rice bran, and 0.766 tons of molasses; and would have grossed twelve million seven hundred and fifty-eight thousand, eight hundred dollars ($12,758,800) in 2017, and five million, eight hundred and six thousand and fifty-nine dollars $5, 806, 059 for 2018, the statement noted.All of the ingredients were sourced locally on the Essequibo Coast, with the exception of molasses, which was sourced directly from Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).“Based on our projected sales for 2018 of approximately $35 million, the IAST management has taken the deliberate decision to only operate the plant to produce cereal in order to keep up with market demand. Therefore, the plant shall be operated during the months of March, May, June, August, September and November in 2018,” Professor Narine noted in his statement. “Additional production will be tapped to service emerging markets; but based on our current forecasting, the plant will be required to produce cereal during 2018 for a six-month period. Our choice of the production months is carefully related to demand, so that the product can be as fresh as possible,” he added. Professor Narine further stated that the plant is operated with fiscal restraint to ensure efficient business and profitability. He added that, based on data collected, the factory would have seen 20 percent return on investment. He related that based on projections, that number is expected to increase, as additional markets are being sourced.The facility that was once projected to create over 200 jobs currently employs 18 local staff, and 12 additional qualified technical persons, seconded from the IAST.