By Vishani Ragobeer
A new fertiliser blending plant will soon be constructed in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and this facility should reduce the amount of fertiliser imported annually and possibly, reduce the costs of fertilisers used by local farmers.
This is according to Komal Singh, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAICO Construction and General Services. He related that this plant should cost about US $6 million (or GY $1.2 billion).
“GAICO right now, as part of their developmental plan also, we are going to set up a fertiliser blending plant.
“What that means to our farmers is that we are going to be able to give them more access to fertilisers and hopefully, cheaper and more timely, that will reduce the amount of imports we have on finished products,” Singh told the News Room during a recent interview.
The blending allows farmers to utilise fertilisers that have the appropriate amounts of chemicals (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) needed for their crops.
Urea and ammonia compounds are the common fertiliser products used locally. Last year, it was reported that Guyana imports about 45,000 tonnes of these products.
“Instead of blending those outside of Guyana and importing finished product, our plan is to build it right here,” Singh explained.
The CEO further highlighted that farmers across the country spend significant sums to import and utilise these compounds. With the new plant, however, he posited that farmers could potentially spend less annually on fertiliser costs.
Importantly, too, he noted that producing the fertilisers locally will reduce the time needed to procure the much- needed fertilisers.
GAICO is seeking to diversify its business operations due to cognisance of the numerous emerging business opportunities in Guyana, the CEO said. The agricultural sector is viewed as one of the key, sustainable sectors.
This new plant is being established through a partnership with Brandt Co, a family-owned American company.
According to its website, Brandt has more than 250 products and engaged farmers who grow everything from row crops to fruit to vegetables to turf and ornamentals. Importantly, too, Brandt products are sold in 48 US states and more than 45 countries.
Already, GAICO has been providing numerous services in the local construction sector due to the ongoing construction boom. In January, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh announced that the construction sector appeared to expand by some 29.8 per cent in 2021.
And in the 2022 National Budget, some $76.7 billion has been allocated for the construction of roads and bridges alone, evidencing the increased local construction activity.
GAICO is constructing a new shore base at Nismes on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) to the tune of US $30 million (or GY $6 billion). This is expected to increase the number of jobs provided and the support services offered to companies entering the Region Three market, in particular.
The company is also increasing its dredging capabilities in Guyana by adding another Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge to its fleet which currently includes a Hopper Dredge, Cutter Head Dredge, Hydraulic Cutter Head Dredge, and Backhoe Dredge.
This is an additional US$7.5M investment which will increase the dredging capabilities in Guyana and the region, ultimately creating more jobs for Guyanese.