A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Guyana Office for Investment (GoInvest), the Ministry of Agriculture and local company Umami Inc., will see the establishment of an agro-processing facility in Black Bush Polder, Corentyne, Berbice.
Black Bush Polder sees a lot of subsistence farming, which most times results in wastage and spoilage.
Black Bush Polder is also where Umami, a household name for high quality local condiments and sauces, gets its products.
Umami’s Managing Director, Chris Persaud, during brief remarks at the signing of the MoU at the Ministry of Agriculture’s boardroom on Tuesday, said it is also an opportunity to help transfer technology to farmers in the area to increase their capacity.
“Black Bush, as many of you know, is pretty much the heartland for our primary produce so it is also an opportunity for integration into our existing line of products,” Persaud said.
Persaud told the News Room that he plans to implement canning once the facility is up and running to increase and enhance shelf life of crops such as leafy vegetables and eggplant. This, he explains, will assist farmers to reduce wastage and spoilage.
Persaud said Umami has worked hard to establish its brand with confidence and quality and as such all products processed at the facility will be under the Umami brand.
The project is expected to commence within six months and is already poised to create some 60 jobs.
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha said its part of the government’s plan to help farmers have more value for their produce.
“We know for a fact that the government agenda is to have more value added products so to speak and produce coming out of Guyana,” Mustapha stated.
The government is also working to remove “barriers” blocking the exportation of produce to the Caribbean and other part of the world.
Additionally, Mustapha noted that the government will also be building and facilitating the building of some seven agro processing facilities across the country.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of GoInvest Dr. Peter Ramsaroop spoke about the renewed interest in the agriculture sector.
“For the year alone, I think we are in double digits for the agriculture sector, ultimately so far close to 500 jobs will be created in the agreements we have signed in the agriculture area,” Dr Ramsaroop said.
Despite many setbacks due to flooding, the sector has great potential for expanding and locals have also been stepping up to invest in large scale farming.