–as plans for agro-processing facility at Black Bush Polder progress with private-public partnership
LOCAL manufacturing company, Umami, has officially signed on as investor for the construction of a multimillion-dollar agro-processing facility at Black Bush Polder, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). For this project, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture and Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), on Tuesday.
Construction of the facility is expected to commence within the next six months. And once completed, over 50 persons will be employed at the facility.
Speaking during a brief signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Subject Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, said that the facility, when completed, will contribute to increased production of value-added products in Guyana for both domestic consumption and export purposes.
There are plans to establish several agro-processing facilities at “agriculture hubs” across the country.
“Many times, we found farmers doing something called subsistence farming, from the farm to the market and we are not getting the real value for the produce, and we as a government, we want to ensure that we provide the necessary facilities and we help these farmers so that they can have more value for their produce,” Minister Mustapha related.
Specifically in the Black Bush area, he said farmers will have the opportunity to process their produce and convert it to a product of quality that is ready for domestic and foreign markets.
Speaking about the benefits of an agro-processing facility in the community, Minister Mustapha said: “Black Bush Polder is one of the areas that we have seen a lot of agriculture produce coming out from and many times, farmers’ produce are being purchased by middle men and then they are not getting the real value for their produce… so this will help the Black Bush Polder farmers to process their produce and at the same time create more jobs for the residents.”
He related that Guyana is currently heading a CARICOM Ministerial Task Force that was recommended by the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, to remove barriers that are blocking some of the countries’ products from being exported within the Caribbean and to other parts of the world.
With a vision in mind, Minister Mustapha said the government, perhaps through public-private partnerships, will be establishing seven agro-processing facilities, to drive progress in the sector and, by extension, make Guyana the agriculture basket of the region.
The minister said that the government is currently working on its public-private formula to engage more private investors.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, said that many investors have already signalled their interest to be part of Guyana’s agriculture sector.
He added that, over the past year, the number of investors showing interest in the country’s agriculture sector has doubled.
One such investor, Umami, which is wholly indigenous, has already made a step forward to expand its horizons in the agriculture sector.
Chief Executive Officer of Umami, Chris Persaud, said that his company will be working with the local farmers to enhance shelf-life of products and limit the amount of spoilage.
He added that his company has established a name of confidence and quality, and will provide the same service to farmers in Black Bush Polder.