Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) Owen Verwey has proffered an upbeat assessment of the recent visit to Brazil by a delegation of functionaries from a number of state agencies at the invitation of the Federation of Industries of the State of Roraima, which, his assessment suggests, points to the likelihood of a closer cooperation between the two countries in various key areas of key mutual economic interest.
The assessment of the visit afforded this newspaper by Verwey pointed particularly to the engagements between Guyanese and Brazilian officials on possibilities for cooperation in the area of agriculture, including visits to several farms in the State of Roraima. He said these visits “afforded the Guyanese officials the opportunity to observe Brazilian farming techniques” and to enable “discussions relating to Brazilians’ interest in large-scale agriculture and agri-business investment opportunities in Guyana.” Specifically, Verwey said in his assessment, engagements on agriculture brought Guyanese decision-makers in the sector together with “about 20 serious Brazilian investors who are interested and ready to invest in large-scale agribusiness in Guyana.”
And according to Verwey, discussions on Brazilian investment in agriculture in Guyana “focused on potential land options, how Brazilian businesses could access land in Guyana for large-scale agricultural operations; incentives and procedures for the agricultural sector, and the technical requirements when undertaking specific agricultural activities in Guyana.” He also alluded to areas of discussion on issues relating to corn, soya bean, rice and livestock as well as “import/export, job opportunities, logistics and infrastructure.”
Verwey said that the broader goals of the Ministry of Business and GO-Invest at the discussions were to explore agriculture investment opportunities for Guyana, share information on incentives, promote confidence in the investment process, afford equality of access to all investors, tailor the expectations of potential investors and discuss viable alternatives to boost border businesses and the geo-economic consolidation of the Rupununi region.
According to the GO-Invest Head, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who led the Guyana delegation, sought to assure the Brazilians of “government’s priorities for the economy, commitment to major investments, including large agriculture and agro-processing projects” as well as Guyana’s “interest in attracting major investors who are willing to develop the entire value chain of products including those with best models for fresh produce and those willing to partner with local farms.”
Contextually, Verwey said, GO-Invest provided the Brazilians with information on Guyana’s investment climate, seeking in the process to promote Guyana “as a stable and growing economy.” The briefing by GO-Invest, according to Verwey, made it possible to provide the Brazilians with information on potential opportunities, both direct and indirect, in major infrastructure project areas such as the Lethem to Linden road, the deep water harbour and the hinterland electrification projects, and investment opportunities and spin-off economic opportunities of the agriculture sector. “Agriculture and agro-processing are priority economic sectors for our country, and our government welcomes collaboration with partners who have the experience, the expertise and the technology to grow and process foods for international markets,” Gaskin was reported as saying.
Engagements with the Brazilians, Verwey said, afforded “a significant opportunity to make awareness of the Guyana market, attract investors to Guyana as well as add value to the Guyana-Brazil Land Transport Link and Deep Water Port Project being discussed by the Guyana Government, IDB and other relevant parties.” He said that the Guyana-Brazil Land Transport Link, if realized, will increase the trade flows of Guyana, Roraima and the Amazonia region, and generally improve trade conditions and cooperation between Guyana and Brazil. The potential output from these Brazilian investments in Guyana could be shipped back to Brazil or directly exported to foreign markets.
Verwey’s update on the Brazil visit also provided insights into other bilateral encounters including the engagement between officials of the local Ministry of Agriculture and the Roraima State Office of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) during which Guyana’s agriculture officials provided a briefing on regulations relating to the movement of livestock between Guyana and Brazil and the marketing opportunities for crops and livestock.
The delegation from the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) held discussions with the President of the Land Institute of Roraima State Alyson Rogers Soars Macedon during which GL&SC Chief Executive Officer Trevor Benn sought to lay the groundwork for the establishment of a relationship with the Land Institute. The creation and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard is expected, following which the two entities will exchange expertise and share information on the leasing and utilization of lands in the State of Roraima.
Stabroek Business was informed that arising out of an exchange with Roraima State Governor Suely Campos during a courtesy call, Benn secured assurances that talks will continue between the two entities with the intention of deepening cooperation and building capacity.