The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Agriculture, on Wednesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Israeli company, KARLICO INC. making way for the development of a massive hydroponic production system project in Guyana.
Last October, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha disclosed that the government was in talks with investors from Israel who have expressed an interest in developing a large-scale hydroponic project.
With climate change having a great impact on traditional agricultural practices, hydroponics, and other forms of smart agriculture, are becoming more prominent within farming communities across the country.
While speaking with reporters at the time, Minister Mustapha said the Israelis were among several investors who expressed an interest in setting up hydroponic systems in Guyana. He also indicated that the hydroponic project will be integrated into the current shadehouse project that is currently ongoing on the East Coast of Demerara.
KARLIGO INC.’s team of local and international experts is said to specialize in the development, financing, construction, and management of agricultural and Agri-tech projects.
With an estimated investment of USD $15,750,000, the project will involve a three-phase hydroponic production system based on nutrient film techniques and soilless production systems. These systems shall be designed for the production of fresh herbs, lettuce, and other leafy vegetables as well as other high-value crops.
The first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed three months after the necessary groundworks are completed, will see the company setting up a 2,000 square meters state-of-the-art hydroponic system which will include a cold room, packaging facility, harvesting equipment, irrigation controllers, fertilizer mixers, water recycling system, and emergency water storage among other things.
Phase two will see the construction and installation of an advanced greenhouse system while phase three will involve the construction of a regional distribution center where a variety of agricultural and food products will be collected, processed, packaged, and delivered to both local and international markets, meeting all of the necessary U.S.D.A and European Food Safety Authority standards and regulations.
Since taking office, the government has signaled its intention to work with other CARICOM Member States to lower the regional food import bill. In a bid to reduce the $2.6 billion import bill for cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli, last March, His Excellency, President Dr. Irfaan Ali launched the Youth Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship programme. To date, approximately 54 shadehouses have been constructed for the cultivation of those high-value crops, (Ministry of Agriculture press release)