Several investors who were in Guyana during the past week have expressed an interest in establishing a cold storage at the former Wales Estate.
The investment which was secured through the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has an estimated cost of several millions.
This was the disclosure made by President of Caribbean Marketing Enterprises Inc (CMEI), Edmond Braithwaite.
Braithwaite said that recognizing the volume and great potential of produce grown in Guyana his investment company is serious about establishing a cold storage at the Wales Estate. This, he stressed, will see several farmers having an opportunity to maximize on the cold storage opportunities.
He said that with the Caribbean food import bill being so high, Guyana stands to benefit significantly with an established storage.
The CMEI head revealed that the storage bond was discussed at length with NICIL who controls the Wales buildings and lands. He said that the discussion was very fruitful, and they are expected to begin construction later this year after the final pieces of documents would have been signed.
“We met with the people at NICIL and had some lengthy but very fruitful discussions with Mr. Colvin Heath-London who like us is excited and eager to see the reality of this storage bond. Several countries are interested in purchasing vegetables and other agricultural produce from Guyana.
“However, with no cold storage facilities it makes shipment of these produce very challenging, thus denying many farmers an opportunity of increasing their revenues, while expanding their markets.
“We intend to provide numerous opportunities to several of these farmers so whatever they produce we will purchase as we would have secured various markets for them,” he promised.
Braithwaite said that farmers in Guyana will be given an opportunity to part own the Cold Storage. Twenty percent of the Cold Storage would be owned by the farmers including the building. He disclosed that the investors will own the remaining 80 percent.
He dismissed the view that the investors may be seeking only to garner profits, but rather stressed that their primary focus is creating markets for several farmers through the construction of the cold storage.
“This Cold Storage is very important as it allows the farmers to own twenty percent of it along with the building, while we will take the remaining 80 percent of sales. The great thing is that they would own the building and an established state of the art cold storage that they can use to process a number of fruits and vegetables, while servicing several regional and international markets with various agricultural produce.
Heath-London has given us the assistances that NICIL will ensure that all systems are out in place so that we can begin rolling out this multimillion US cold storage shortly,” Braithwaite assured.
NICIL’s Privatization Specialist, Rachael Henry, who is managing the project, said that her team has already begun finalizing the deal as it will significantly benefit residents and farmers.
She said that NICIL is excited with the prospects that such a cold storage will bring to Guyana and how it can help in reducing wastage in agricultural produce significantly.
“Over the years many people would plant, reap and sell and for what is left over it would be wasted.
However with the construction of a cold storage this will be something of the past. Farmers will not only be able to save and preserve their products but also to tap into a number of available markets.
Part of this cold storage deal will see farmers bringing their produce here and it being bought from them, thus saving them from having to find markets,” Henry noted.
Meanwhile, CEO acting Colvin Heath-London, expressed satisfaction over the discussions. He said that they are confident that the proposed business venture is one that will propel West Demerara and more directly, Wales, significantly.
He said that such an investment is critically important for farmers in Guyana as it creates a golden opportunity for them to secure markers, while ensuring that the significant wastage that many of them suffer would be something of the past.
“Each day you will have farmers complaining about the significant losses that they have experienced.
“When they do not have everything sold they are forced in some cases to give them away and or to throw them away. This can be greatly reduced with the storage as we would be able to find secured markets so that they can be able to expand their reach,” he assured.
He revealed that NICIL secured a processing machine through a grant and as such, the entity would be able to assist a number of small farmers with processing. He said that the machine which is worth millions of dollars will certainly boost their agricultural plans for Wales.
He disclosed that with plans afoot to establish an industrial area consisting of 200 acres of land that the public can expect a number of great business ventures being realized at Wales.
“Wales has been identified for the establishment of the Industrial area and with the cold storage being one of the business ventures that will be there and with the processing machine that we secured it spells great news for a number of farmers,” he declared.
He confirmed that construction of the Cold Storage is expected to commence later this year. The paperwork is being finalized at the moment.
Source: Kaieteur News.