DDL needs over 2 million pounds of fruit for expanded operations; farmers eager to increase cultivation

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Some 40 farmers who currently supply fruit to Demerara Distillers Limited’s TOPCO juice operations are eager to increase their cultivation to meet the company’s need as it expands its juice operations, said in a statement Friday.

TOPCO’s multi -billion dollar expansion project would initially require over two million pounds of fruit annually, the company stated. TOPCO juices are sold locally and overseas.

The new TOPCO plant is expected to be commissioned in July 2020.

Friday’s meeting and tour of the expansion works followed one by representatives of a number of related government agencies recently and a meeting last week with Finance Minister Winston Jordan who was updated on the progress of the project which will include the production of pasteurized milk.

The farmers on Friday met with officials of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and representatives of a number of agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) and the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) to discuss issues which would help ensure that they successfully expand their cultivation.

“This included assistance with the provision of agriculture extension services which would deal with cultivation best practices, soil testing, treatment of infestation and advice on measures to reduce post -harvest losses,” DDL stated.

The company’s chairman, Komal Samaroo, has promised the farmers an increased price for their fruit come February next year; he said too that they would be paid within three days of their supply of fruit.

“This is a serious partnership between TOPCO and you the farmers. Arrangements are for the guaranteed purchase of your fruit at a guaranteed price.

“So, when the market price goes down you will still be receiving the price upon which we agreed. This is a contract between you and us.

“We need each other and must address all the issues that will make this partnership mutually successful,” Samaroo told the farmers at the meeting held at Diamond, East Bank Dmerara.

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