US$25M Chinese seafood company creates 240 local jobs
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Staffers of the Grandeast Seafood Processing facility at Garden of Eden, on the East Bank of Demerara, hard at work ‘prepping’ and packaging fish for the market (Adrian Narine photo)
Staffers of the Grandeast Seafood Processing facility at Garden of Eden, on the East Bank of Demerara, hard at work ‘prepping’ and packaging fish for the market (Adrian Narine photo)

–opens new markets for local fishermen

GUYANA’S aquaculture sector has been boosted by a US$25 million investment from a renowned Chinese fish processing company, Grandeast Seafood Inc., which has constructed a facility at Garden of Eden on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) and created employment for 240 persons.

The Chinese-owned company is a subsidiary of Hong Dong Fisheries Co., Ltd., a company headquartered in China which specialises in processing and trading of fishery products. The business of Hong Dong Fisheries Co., Ltd. involves ocean fishing, fishery base operations, cold chain logistics, fish processing, import and export trade, marine biology research, and aquatic product market operations management.

It is the largest comprehensive fishery enterprise and has the largest number of fishing vessels in China, abundant product categories and a complete industrial chain. Given the track record of the parent company, it is anticipated that Grandeast Seafood Inc. will reveal the hidden potential of Guyana’s aquaculture sector, which is pegged to be an economic powerhouse in the coming years.

The company has already been issued a certificate of approval for operation, a certificate of inspection, and permanent national registration number by the Ministry of Health, and will soon begin exporting processed seafood products to China. Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, following a tour of the Grandeast facility on Monday, said that Guyana is developing its fisheries sector and a facility like this is in line with the plans and the vision of President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, who envisages a thriving aquaculture and fisheries sector.

Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud (left), and Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha (centre), along with the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Hanming Hu (right), during a ‘taste test’ of Grandeast processed shrimp (Adrian Narine photo)

General Manager of Grandeast Seafood Inc., Hu Junyu, said the growing company has been working closely with fishermen from the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) and has been in talks with other fisher folks from the Berbice region. He added too that several interactions with Guyanese fisher folks have created an avenue for greater partnerships and investments in the country’s fisheries sector.

In commending the company’s vision and investment, Minister Mustapha said: “Right now we are about to develop our aquaculture industry especially our shrimp industry… we look forward to working with you guys and we want to invite you to continue these kinds of investment.
“So far I am quite impressed with the facility. This was a massive investment and it provides a ready market for our fishermen. Most of this company’s suppliers are fishermen from the West Coast of Demerara.”

Additionally, the minister stated that the processing facility will aid in providing markets for Guyanese fisher folks.
“Our local fishermen would usually discard certain species of shrimp because there was no market for them locally. This company has provided that market and fishermen are now encouraged to work more hours weekly to satisfy the demand.

“As a government, we support these types of investments and we will continue to support investments that benefit the people and the development of this country,” Minister Mustapha said.

The processing facility, which stretches across approximately 6.818 acres of land, processes different varieties of seafood products including bangamary, sea trout, croaker, basha, snook, white belly, Atlantic seabob, among other things. According to Junyu, the facility has established a comprehensive Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, which is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Hanming Hu (left); Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud (centre); and Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha (right), with employees of the Grandeast Seafood Processing facility during a tour (Adrian Narine photo)

This system also allows for a processing capacity of 3,000 tonnes per year, which Minister
Mustapha said will contribute to the development of Guyana’s aquaculture sector and value-added sector.
Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, who accompanied Minister Mustapha on the tour, said that the government has been working through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to improve international trade by building symbiotic relationships with other countries in the region and across the world.

Persaud added that through bilateral and multilateral engagements, the government would be able to remove barriers to trade not only in the agriculture sector, but also in other sectors as well.

“Given the mandate of the President, we’re looking to open new markets and remove any barriers or any obstacles whether it’s in the Caribbean, North America, or Europe. We have over 20 trade agreements with different countries and regions and we want companies in Guyana to take full advantage of these opportunities.

“When there are obstacles, our ministry, through our trade department, would step in and assist. We’re now working very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to address issues of barriers to agricultural export,” Persaud said.

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