Within the next three months, farmers from Pomeroon-Supenaam will benefit from a state-of-the-art agro-processing facility that is currently being constructed by the Ministry of Agriculture’s New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC).
The project is being executed at a tune of $60 million and will be located in a separate building adjacent to the Guyana School of Agriculture’s (GSA) Region Two campus.
During a recent trip to the Region, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha conducted a site visit to the location to assess the progress of the ongoing works.
While offering comments on the project, Minister Mustapha said that his Ministry will be constructing several of these facilities to assist farmers with adding value to their produce.
“In the agriculture sector, we want our farmers to have better value for their produce. We are now constructing a lot of these agro-processing facilities across the country. We have this one in Region Two. We’ll also build one in Region Three,” he said.
“We’ll retrofit the one at Parika and make it into a modern facility and adopt a Public/Private Partnership there. We’ll also construct one at Kara Kara in Linden and two in Region Nine at St. Ignatius and Arnaputa. I’m also looking to develop the industrial estate in Region Nine to construct a suitable agro-processing facility. We’ll also construct on in Black Bush Polder/ Lesbiholden,” Minister Mustapha added.
The agro-processing facilities will function both for commercial production and product development for small and medium agro-processors.
The subject Minister also said that these facilities are being constructed because government intends to ensure farmers are able to add value to their produce while encouraging them to advance from subsistence farming.
“These facilities will enable our farmers to properly package their produce and label them so that they can be exported to various parts of the Caribbean and the world. Local consumers are also looking for better packaging so we are making the necessary investments to ensure our farmers can tap into those markets,” Minister Mustapha said.
Minister Mustapha also said that the contractor had indicated that the project was on schedule for completion within the next three months once the weather is favourable.
Funds for the construction of the agro-processing facility were part of the Ministry’s 2020 emergency Budget.
Over the last five years, the agro-processing sector declined by a whopping 45%. However, as a result of the many efforts made by the government in 2020, the industry recorded a 9% increase in non-traditional exports in 2020 over 2019.