The Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), through the Ministry of Agriculture, on Wednesday awarded a contract in the sum of $14,354,640 for the construction of a fruit and vegetable dehydrating facility expected to transform Guyana’s agriculture and manufacturing sector.
Dehydrating food is a food preservation method used to extend the shelf-life of food by removing its water content. The facility, which will be constructed at Hope, East Coast Demerara, will be used to convert fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables into dehydrated products.
The facility will assist local producers to tap into local and regional markets for dehydrated fruits and therefore, reduce products imported to the local and regional markets, the contract document stated.
It will also enable stakeholders to meet export requirements within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for dehydrated commodities.
Currently, Guyana has the capability of producing an estimated two million kilograms of dried fruits.
The contract for the construction of the facility was awarded to Triple-A Construction Supplies and Services.
The ministry also awarded a contract in the sum of $8,735,503 to NK Engineering Services for the retrofitting of an agro-processing facility at Charity, Region Two (Pomeroon – Supernaam).
The Pomeroon Women’s Association Building in Charity will be retrofitted to accommodate the project which is being undertaken to encourage more agro-processing and contribute to food security, the project document noted.
The facility will be co-managed initially by GMC and an elected council for the respective communities.
It is envisioned that the facility will be a source of market for farmers from communities along the Pomeroon River and the coastal villages.
These projects are part of some $605,094,510 in contracts, including some aimed at improving drainage for rice lands and for the construction of roads to improve access to farmlands, among others that were awarded by the ministry.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha told the contractors that the projects must be completed according to the specifications and in a timely manner as the ministry will not be extending the contract time. (Richard Bhainie)