Essequibians want to know what happened to the rice cereal factory at Anna Regina Essequibo, which was built by the previous administration. The whole concept of this project was to help buy farmers’ paddy and millers’ rice and to employ 200 people after the price fell on the Venezuelan market.
Several government agencies and ministries in the region wanted to take over the rice cereal factory since the Ministry of Agriculture couldn’t find a magic formula for achieving success in developing the project. It is left to wonder if this will be another white elephant. As I understand it this factory is Dr Suresh’s baby; he is the head of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology. This factory was built in 2011 with the intention of making pineapple crushed pickles, guava jelly, guava jam, skimmed milk powder. Instead it was decided to develop a range of new products on the basis of the rice industry, eg breakfast cereal for school children, holiday foods, rice puffs, rice flour, edible oil from the bran, rice wine and a host of other products.
To support these efforts by our millers and farmers the government must ensure that this factory starts to operate and proper marketing arrangements are put in place whenever the products are sold, in addition to which millers and farmers must be paid promptly. This factory will need adequate storage, drying, refrigeration and transportation facilities.
Given our resource base, we in Essequibo are in a fortunate position to break the cycle of joblessness, but the government must gear itself for the task which lies ahead. This process will take good planning in which it will have to continuously improve the workers’ knowledge and skills, and get it done as early as possible. Essequibians are a healthy, intelligent and literate people who are possessed of a wide range of skills and are capable of learning new ones if given the opportunity.