Sabina Farms, a Guyanese company, is hoping to employ 200 workers, mainly from small, rural communities as it targets the multi-billion dollar vegetable market in Guyana and abroad.
After living abroad for several years, Sabina Farms’ President David Aparisio said that he returned home with the goal of producing high quality food for local, regional and international markets.
And he believes that he is well able to do so using his family’s ancestral lands at St. Lawrence, on the East Bank of Essequibo (EBE).
Development has been ongoing at St. Lawrence for several years, with containers of produce already exported. But now, Aparasio believes that Sabina Farms is poised for expansion.
“The vision is to restore this rural village, to employ people, to make the community a whole lot more livable by creating jobs within them,” he said during an interview with the News Room on Wednesday.
To achieve its vision, the company is partnering with TOP Greenhouses, an Israeli company that operates sustainable greenhouse technology in 52 countries. Through this partnership, the company plans to establish more shade houses and as such, grow more food.
“Within each shade house, we will employ between five and 11 people.
“Doing 15 hectares we will probably employ between 100 to 200 people,” Aparisio noted.
Not only does Aparisio intend on producing larger quantities of quality food, but he is hoping to do so while building a mini-community where the workers can reside and where the farm is powered by energy produced right there.
That may include creating containerised dwellings that will be placed on the land; other facilities could be established there too.
And project partner Roger Kavaner explained that this new relationship with TOP Greenhouses will see Sabina Farms expand its resources and production.
With the Israeli company’s proven track-record of innovative and sustainable green house systems, Kavaner believes that Sabina Farms’ products – be it tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce or other vegetables – can satisfy Guyana’s high-end restaurants as well as help the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cut its massive food import bill.
Beyond those target markets, Sabina Farms and TOP Greenhouses have created linkages with international markets that could see produce being exported there too. Altogether, the export market is a multi billion dollar one.
For now, though, Sabina Farms is seeking investors to help realise Aparisio’s vision for expanded production and community development. In the first instance, for the 15-hectare hydroponic development at St. Lawrence, some US $15 million would be required.
Beyond that, production can expand to about 100 hectares with US $150 million. With this expansion, a port would be established too, on lands Aparasio is already in possession of; this port would facilitate easier shipments.
Sabina Farms and TOP Greenhouses are attending the Regional Agriculture Investment Forum and Expo, hosted in Guyana this year, hoping that they can attract investors for the project.