…NICIL says investors identified, scores of jobs to be provided
A MODERN state-of-the-art cold-storage bond will be constructed at the former Wales Sugar Estate as government continues its programme of diversifying the sector and provide jobs for workers who were laid-off due to the restructuring of the industry.
In a release on Friday, NICIL said several investors, who were in Guyana for the past week, have expressed an interest in establishing the cold storage at the former Wales Estate. The investment, which was secured through NICIL, has been estimated to the tune of several millions. This disclosure was made by President of Caribbean Marketing Enterprises Inc (CMEI), Edmond Braithwaite. Braithwaite said that recognising 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 maximise on the cold storage opportunities. He disclosed 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 discussion for 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, according to the NICIL release.
Braithwaite revealed that farmers in Guyana will be given an opportunity to part-own the cold storage, noting that twenty per cent of the cold storage would be owned by the farmers including the building. He disclosed that the investors will own the remaining 80 per cent. 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 20 per cent of it along with the building, while we will take the remaining 80 per cent 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 assurance that NICIL will ensure that all systems are out in place so that we can begin rolling out this multimillion-USD cold storage shortly,” Braithwaite assured.
NICIL’s Privatisation Specialist acting, Racheal Henry, who is managing the project, said that her team has already begun finalising 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 as farmers will not only be able to save and preserve their products, but also to tap in to 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, acting CEO, 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 because when they do not have everything sold, they are forced in some cases to give them away and or to throw them away and 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, they would be able to assist a number of small farmers with processing. He stressed that the machine, which is worth millions, 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, the public can expect a number of great business ventures being realised 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 commen
Source: The Guyana Chronicle.