The new MV Ma Lisha can sail from Region One (Barima- Waini) to Trinidad and Tobago in just about 15 hours and this presents an opportunity for farmers in the region to export crab meat, ground provisions and other produce to the Twin Island Republic and other Caribbean countries.
This is according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali who spoke at a commissioning ceremony for the new vessel on Sunday. According to the Head of State, transportation woes pose a great challenge to the Guyana-led plan to increase the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) food security plan.
The new vessel, however, presents an opportunity for produce in Region One to be readily shipped to Trinidad and the wider Caribbean because of its size and speed.
This is an important consideration, the Head of State explained, since it is believed that Region One alone can satisfy all of the cassava, eddo, sweet potato, turmeric, ginger and cage culture fish needs of the Twin Island Republic.
“So, this vessel opens up opportunities for food production, value added food production and economic opportunities for the people of Region One,” Dr. Ali posited.
Those products can also be shipped to Georgetown for consumption on the coast for export to new markets like the United Kingdom.
And with transportation woes solved, the President said government is better positioned to invest in more agro-processing and port facilities in the region, that are expected to stimulate greater agricultural production.
It is also expected that additional government services will be expanded to the region. Aside from the agricultural opportunities the new vessel presents, it is able to transport more people to and from Guyana’s North West District at a faster rate and at a cheaper cost.
The ferry was built in India by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited through a US$12.77 million Grant/Line of Credit line from the government of India and it is part of the modern sea-going vessels Guyana now owns.
India is being tapped to possibly supply more vessels to the Caribbean region since the region is keen on expanding agricultural production and intra-regional trade.
Also present at the vessel’s commissioning was India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who affirmed India’s support for Guyana’s development.