Amazonia Expert Services Limited, a company recently formed by local and Caribbean nationals, have acquired a lease for 700 acres of land at the now-closed Wales Sugar Estate on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) to cultivate and process coconuts.
The company was formed within the last six weeks and is headed by Guyanese Dr Arlington Chesney who is the former Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Dr Arlington Chesney and former Grenadian Ambassador to CARICOM, Dr Patrick Antoine.
Speaking with the media at the sidelines of an event at the Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown, Georgetown on Monday evening, Dr Chesney disclosed that the company has managed to lease the land for 20 years.
“We have been given a lease for the land and is in the process of getting a lease for the processing facility,” Dr Chesney noted. There will also be a greenhouse facility to produce high-quality food, he said.
Dr Chesney said the company has already formed partnerships with a group in the Dominican Republic to produce dry coconut for their industries and companies in the United States.
While he touted the use of local farmers, the 45 persons who will be employed at the estate may not necessarily come from the surrounding communities.
“We want to have a spin-off relationship with selected farmers so that they will get involved in the technology…
“We want to select the best people. You know agriculture is not a very profitable business so we’re linking it to processing so you want people who are adaptive, well-tuned, etc,” Dr Chesney told the media.
Amazonia Expert Services Limited on Monday evening launched a partnership with Unicon Western Holdings from Ghana to supply labourers to oil rigs offshore Guyana.
Dr. Antoine –the other major shareholder in Amazonia Expert Services Limited –in his address at the event touted regional integration and job opportunities for CARICOM nationals in the local industry.
The land at the Wales Estate is now available for lease after the sugar Estate was closed at the end of 2016 as part of a plan to downscale the industry. This left hundreds of workers without stable employment while others have to travel to the Uitvlugt Estate on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) to work.
The Government has always touted other agriculture plans for the estate. Among those plans were to lease lands to sugar workers in the surrounding communities or to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for rice cultivation.
However, these plans were never brought to fruition.
The Special Purpose Unit (SPU) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) is responsible for the divestment of the closed sugar estates which include Wales, Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon.