US$5M food terminal earmarked for Soesdyke-Linden Highway

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and his Barbadian counterpart, Indar Weir, along with their respective delegations during the meeting

A food terminal to the tune of approximately US$5 million is earmarked to be constructed along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, in keeping with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s efforts to continue to grow the agriculture sector.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha recently met with a team from Barbados’ Ministry of Agriculture, Food and National Security, who were represented by his Barbadian counterpart, Indar Weir. During the meeting, they discussed various areas of collaboration between the two countries.

One of the things that was discussed was Guyana’s plans to build a food terminal, with Minister Mustapha informing the Barbadian delegation of Guyana’s intentions to build a food terminal of its own. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Weir was informed of Guyana’s intentions to move ahead with construction hopefully before the end of the year.

Minister Mustapha, meanwhile, told Guyana Times in a telephone interview that the intention is to have the food terminal completed hopefully by next year. He noted that their technical team is working to advance the project.

“We are looking forward to starting and I’m hopeful that over the next year or so, we will complete [it] hopefully by next year. We are working to start the construction… we are looking at the highway. Our technical team is working. It will be on the highway,” Mustapha said.

Guyana is collaborating with Barbados on the construction of a food terminal in St Michael, Barbados, and during the meeting between the two sides, this project was one of the many topics discussed. Discussions also centred on aquaculture development in the two countries, shade house technology, as well as an ongoing livestock exchange programme.

Meanwhile, the Barbadian Minister also informed the Guyanese side of plans already in motion to establish a pack house facility that will store large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables. These products, according to the Ministry of Agriculture release, will be purchased from Guyanese farmers and used to supply the Barbados market. Minister Weir further said that the process is expected to commence shortly as the island is now at the end of its hurricane season.

Guyana and Barbados have closely collaborated in the areas of agriculture in recent years. Already, Guyana has benefited from black belly sheep from Barbados, which were introduced in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) with special emphasis being placed on women and young people to take the lead in this project.

Barbados had earlier this year agreed to send 1000 sheep to Guyana to kickstart this project as the two countries entered a collaboration with the overall goal of building a regional brand of sheep to decrease the importation of lamb and mutton products into the Region. Last year August, Guyana received the first 132 sheep from Barbados, consisting of 112 ewes and 20 rams.

The Government has expended approximately $600 million to start this project and later another $17.7 million to provide additional resources to maintain it. Major infrastructural work to support this project continues to progress. For one, there will be a $257 million all-weather 4300m road at Blairmont, West Bank Berbice, as well as fences and living quarters for those supervising the project.

There had also been plans for Guyana and Barbados to set up Trade and Investment Facilitation Offices in each other’s countries. This came about during business collaborations between the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) and Export Barbados.

Last year, a group of young Barbadians also travelled to Guyana to be trained on shade house development. Simultaneously, Guyana also concluded a deal to ship pre-fab shade houses to Barbados that will be developed by trained young people to accelerate agriculture in the island state.