Brazilians to help with big corn plans

Brazilian experts are here to help boost local capacity to grow corn on a large scale in order to support the local feed industry and hopefully export in time, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said last week.

He told Stabroek News that the team came under the EMBRAPA agreement between the governments of the two countries and will be providing technical expertise to locals through the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).

Persaud said while there was some small-scale corn farming being done the idea was to make Guyana self-sufficient in order to produce for feed, food and export. He added that there are investors both local and foreign who have expressed interest in the venture with lands identified particularly in Berbice and Region 9.

The team is expected to meet farmers and technical officers and host a training session today at the Guyana School of Agriculture, Persaud said.

The minister had mentioned the team’s visit last week at a meeting with poultry producers where he said they were looking to do away with the feed industry’s dependence on imports.

Meanwhile, Persaud said the recent incle-ment weather has hampered surveying being done in Region 9 where a huge agro-complex is to be set up. President Bharrat Jagdeo had mentioned the plan to develop the former Pirara Ranch into the complex at the recent Caricom Heads meeting in Jamaica.  He had also stated that Israeli investors were conducting feasibility studies in the intermediate savannahs.

According to GINA, Jagdeo referred to the Israeli initiative as a large integrated project that will cost hundreds of millions of US dollars. The projects propose to be all-inclusive, undertaking farming, processing and exporting which will form a significant-sized integrated agro-complex, GINA stated.

Minister Persaud also told Stabroek News that another large investment will be undertaken by the Simpson Group out of Barbados. As it relates to infrastructure in the areas, the minister said that the administration will do its part in keeping with its regional programmes and that it expects infrastructure in the identified areas to be investor-driven.

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