Fat Boy Ventures Inc. – the coconut processing firm that has closed its operations in light of a fine from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – has announced that some 3,000 farmers will be affected by the move.
Fat Boy Ventures was fined one million dollars for dumping its waste – comprising of coconut husks and shells – into tributaries of the Pomeroon River.
In a statement today, the firm says it regrets having to make this decision.
“…we recognise that the livelihood of the majority of the farmers in the Pomeroon River is heavily dependent on the harvesting, processing, sale and export of coconuts and their by-products from the region and we know that this sudden loss of stable and predictable income for their crop has had a severe negative impact on the farming community,” the firm stated.
“The Company sympathises with the many families affected, and we continue to work diligently to restore our operations which the farmers have grown to know and enjoy as a consistent and predictable source of demand and income within the region,” it added.
As a result of the closure of the operations, farmers’ crops continue to spoil with little to no demand for them.
The Coconut Firm says it cannot definitively say for how long this situation will continue but it is urging farmers to remain patient.
“Rest assured that we will continue to push for the development and growth of the Pomeroon farmers and work with the farmers’ groups to find alternative means to help them maintain and support their families during this difficult time,” Fat Boy Ventures stated.
Moreover, the company expressed that although the EPA is the regulatory agency in charge of environmental protection, “it has failed to offer any practical and innovative suggestions to the waste management challenges unique to the Guyana interior and surrounding terrain”.
Fat Boy Ventures said it has faced substantial financial losses and reputational damage as a result of this situation.