Multi-million dollar agro-processing facility for Black Bush Polder

MoU signed between Govt, UMAMI
– construction to stat in six months 

The Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Agriculture and the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) today inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UMAMI Incorporated for the construction of a multi-million dollar agro-processing facility in Black Bush Polder, Region Six.

Construction on the facility is expected to commence within the next six months, and once completed, will employ more than 60 persons.  

The officials while signing the MOU

During the signing exercise, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, MP, said the Government is keen on ensuring more value-added commodities are produced in Guyana.

“Part of the Government’s agenda for agriculture is to have more value-added products coming out of Guyana. Many farmers are still practicing subsistence farming and this is preventing them from getting the full value of their produce. As a Government, we want to ensure that the necessary facilities are available while assisting farmers to have more monies for their produce.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha

“With Guyana now playing that lead role in agriculture in CARICOM and a task force set up to advance the agri-food system, we are looking at ways to remove the barriers that are hampering the export of our produce to certain parts of the Caribbean. I think we have a good opportunity, once those barriers are removed, to have our produce exported to other parts of the Caribbean and the world,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister further stated that the Government will be facilitating investments though public-private partnerships in a bid to encourage and promote investment in the sector.

“This year alone, we’ll be building several agro-processing facilities across the country. We are also working with the public-private partnership (PPP) formula, where private investors are also building and the Government acts as a facilitator to these investments.

“For this particular project, the Government will be doing some infrastructural work in the area to ensure things are in place. Mr. Persaud has indicated his willingness to commence construction as soon as possible so that this project can come into fruition soon, so that the full potential of Black Bush Polder can be fully harnessed,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister also said that Black Bush Polder is one of the areas in Guyana that produces a lot of agricultural commodities. He further stated that those farmers are often short-changed in terms of pricing and that this facility would enable the farmers to process their produce while creating jobs for other residents.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of UMAMI Incorporated, Mr. Chris Persaud said the facility will enable the company to integrate existing products into its product line. He also said that the construction and operation of the facility will facilitate the transfer of technology to farmers in Black Bush Polder.

“As a manufacturer of high-quality, value-added food commodities, we are proud to be exercising our patriotic duty to be a part of the rebuilding of the area. Black Bush Polder, as many of you may know, is pretty much the heartland of our primary produce so this is also an opportunity for integration into our existing line of products.

Managing Director of UMAMI Inc., Chris Persaud

“We also see it as an opportunity to transfer technology to the farmers so that they can increase their capacity. The ultimate goal of the facility is to find ways and means to enhance the shelf-life of the traditional products we have so that we can have less wastage and spoilage.”

Although a final investment amount has not been determined, Mr. Persaud said the facility will be outfitted with A-grade technology to ensure quality products are produced since the brand is hoping to add products like canned vegetables to its line of products.

 He further stated that the products that will be produced will remain under the UMAMI brand given the fact that the brand is already known for providing quality products to its consumers. 

Additionally, Go-Invest CEO Dr. Peter Ramsaroop said there has been a significant increase in investments in the agriculture sector over the last year from both local and foreign investors.

GoInvest CEO, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop

“The Caribbean imports close to $8 billion worth of food every year, and Guyana from an investment side, we’re seeing a lot of both foreign and local investors. What we’re most proud of is that our local folks are stepping up to the plate, investing in agro-processing and large-scale farming.

“Our office is seeing a significant increase for the agriculture sector. For the year alone we’re in double digits on investments in the sector. Ultimately, so far, close to 500 jobs will be created with the agreements we’ve signed for the agriculture area,” Dr. Ramsaroop said.

Minister Mustapha expressed similar statements. He too noted the renewed interest in the sector since the Government took office a year ago, many investors have been signalling their interest to invest in the agriculture sector. He also said the Government’s agenda involves having more value-added products produced in Guyana for both domestic consumption and export. 

GoInvest’s CEO Dr. Peter Ramsaroop and Managing Director for UMAMI Inc. Chris Persaud exchange documents. while Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha looks on

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