–Mayor Chagas points to Brazilian municipality’s expertise in soya bean cultivation
INVESTORS in Bonfim have started to position themselves to capitalise on direct and spinoff opportunities in Guyana, where oil and gas and other productive sectors, coupled with prudent fiscal planning, are spurring rapid economic advancement.
Lying on the edge of the border between Guyana and Brazil, the Brazilian municipality already plays a significant role in facilitating economic cooperation between the two South American nations.
Bonfim, together with Lethem on Guyana’s side of the border, creates an integral conduit for travel, trade, tourism and many other activities that are beneficial to both nations.
And greater opportunities are in the pipeline for stakeholders on both sides of the border, as authorities move closer to finalising further arrangements for the paving of the road from Linden to Lethem.
President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, in describing the massive project which will be done in phases, had said: “Almost one half of Guyana’s potential will be linked one way or the other to just opening that corridor.”
With this project and other crucial developments, Guyana’s economy is on the rise and Mayor of Bonfim, Joner Chagas, told the Sunday Chronicle that investors within his municipality are positioning themselves to strengthen the existing business relationship and capitalise on opportunities that might arise in the near future.
“Yes, we could see persons in Bonfim are preparing to capitalise on the impending opportunities in Guyana,” Chagas said.
Although the mayor was unable at that time to provide specific statistics on items or produce that are traded between Bonfim and Lethem, the Sunday Chronicle understands that Guyana, on a broader level, earned over US$20.4 million from exports to Brazil in 2020.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – an online data visualisation and distribution platform – the main products exported from Guyana to Brazil in 2020, were rice, aluminum ore and surveying equipment, among other things.
On the other hand, Brazil, a known manufacturing and commercial hub in South America, exported soya bean, unglazed ceramics and tractors to Guyana in 2020.
Mayor Chagas said soya bean cultivation is one of the strengths of Bonfim, and it is an area which the municipality and its stakeholders would be looking to expand.
“For now, what we have is the soya bean and that is what we have room for expansion in,” the mayor said, adding that there also other areas in agriculture that are of interest to stakeholders in Bonfim.
Just last year, Guyana began the cultivation of corn and soya bean, an initiative inspired by the Government of Guyana that is being spearheaded by a group of investors which includes Brazilian-owned N F Agriculture.
Other investors involved in this initiative include Guyana Stockfeed Limited, Royal Chicken, Edun Farms, SBM Wood, the Dubulay Ranch, and Bounty Farm Limited.
It was reported in February that the success of the corn and soya bean trials has led to a decision by the private sector to increase from its initial size to 2,700 acres of land for commercial trials in 2022.
This, according to Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, will result in 1,500 tonnes of soya bean and 3,000 tonnes of corn being harvested in the second half of this year.
With the anticipated success of the commercial trial, cultivation is expected to ramp up to 12,500 acres in 2023, 25,000 acres in 2025 and 56,000 acres in 2028.
Some $102 million was expended in 2021 and a further $426 million is budgeted in 2022 to complete the road to facilitate the expansion of this project.