–all preliminary works completed, says Agriculture Minister
THE preliminary works for a modular pig-slaughtering and processing facility at Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara, have been completed, according to Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha.
“We have prepared the land site, we’ve done the fence, the bridge, the road and the process is moving very rapidly,” Mustapha said in an invited comment on Sunday.
While those works are complete, he also said that the ministry is currently engaging in discussions with private sector investors to establish the processing wing of the facility.
“We are now looking to have discussions with a private investor to collaborate there, not only for the swine facility; we are looking to do a processing plant there and to produce things like sausages and so on.”
In 2021, Mustapha had announced that an investment of $29 million will be made to establish the facility.
Minister Mustapha said then that about 66 per cent, or two-thirds of Guyana’s pork and pork products were imported, racking up a costly bill. Ham, bacon and sausage make up the bulk of the imports. And based on statistics, he said the local swine industry is producing only at 10 per cent of its true potential.
In 2022, the ministry had begun the roll out of its genetic improvement, nutrition and animal health programme to improve livestock production.
“We have a number of those projects both in the cattle industry and swine [industry]. In the cattle industry we have started the transfer of embryos, we have also started the artificial insemination in cattle and also small ruminants.”
Mustapha noted that the country’s swine industry is poised for great expansion in 2023.
“Last year we would have also produced 4,167 piglets, new breeds of pigs and we have been working with farmers around the country and this year we intend to increase on that.”
Meanwhile, Mustapha noted that Guyana is closer to becoming self-sufficient by producing its own feed for livestock.
The first soya bean trial cultivation at the Dubulay Ranch, which is located approximately 70 miles south of Georgetown along the Berbice River, has been dubbed successful and the second crop is under cultivation. Harvesting is scheduled to take place in March.
Mustapha explained that if the government is able to further expand production within the next three years, the country will not only become a supplier to the regional market, but will also be self-sufficient in producing its own feed for livestock.
In 2021, six local companies and a regional firm joined together to undertake the massive project that could see Guyana becoming self-sufficient in corn and soya bean over the next few years.
The owners of Guyana Stockfeeds Incorporated., Royal Chicken, Edun Farms, SBM Wood, Dubulay Ranch, and Bounty farm ltd., along with the Brazilian-owned NF agriculture, have partnered to produce soya bean and corn for both the local and regional markets.
With Guyana expending close to US$25 million annually on proteins for the poultry sector, the government, since being elected to office in 2020, has taken steps to promote domestic cultivation of grains such as corn and soya bean.