A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently inked between NF Agriculture Inc and investors of Lucas do Rio Verde which will see the commencement of an Agricultural Village in Guyana’s Intermediate Savannah, a release from the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday said.
The Agreement was signed at the Rio Verde Research Foundation in Mato Grosso state in south central Brazil. There was no indication of how much money is to be invested.
The work which is scheduled to begin shortly will cater for the construction of bioethanol stations, a state-of-the-art Research Institute, large-scale agricultural production of corn and soybean and banking institutions among other ventures. The release did not provide any information on NF Agriculture, one of whose principals is Yucatan Reis who had been linked to a controversial mining venture here which was eventually scrapped during the PPP/C’s term in office.
The release yesterday said that Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder who led a delegation to the city of Lucas do Rio Verde, Brazil from June 3-9 got a firsthand look at the production base of the private sector within the State.
While at the Research Station, the team was met by the Research Institute’s President Marino Franz who showed the work of the institute via a video presentation, highlighting some of the progress the institute has made in the area of research to ensure farmers receive only the best form of seed materials.
The Foundation which was established in 1992 generates its revenues from research done to support agricultural advancement, in conjunction with the State University.
“The work of the Institute is diverse in that we not only look for new and innovative ways each day to improve technology, but we work to ensure that all trials are done aimed at improving production and productivity,” Franz said, according to the press release.
One hundred percent of the technology employed in the Brazilian state of Roraima which borders Guyana came from the Research Institute which annually hosts a demonstration of new and innovative ideas to boost production, the release said.
“Our soil type is similar to that of Guyana, so whatever is applied here with this amount of success can be safely adopted in Guyana guaranteeing the said amount of successful returns,” he added.
“If the farmer has a problem they would come to the foundation and we would go to the specific field to address the issue. Our technical professionals also challenge themselves to identify new areas of research to be done daily,”
“The South of Brazil has very high-quality seeds which the foundation takes and conducts research to ascertain its productive genes in climate and soil type of Mato Grosso, Brazil. It is important for us to get it right the first time; if something is to go wrong, it must occur in the foundation’s farm and not on farmers farm….we take pride in ensuring that our farmers’ investments are protected,” Franz said, according to the release.
Speaking about soil improvement, Franz said “What is needed is for farmers to first plant the soya bean, then plant their corn (the inter-cropping method), then dig half-meter deep and break the soil and apply your limestone….This is the method which has been adopted by the foundation over the years and has been successful in each case for our farmers”.
Franz stated that for Guyana’s farmers to boost their production base, the right amount of fertilisers and the genetics of plants are key. This approach is what the investors will be bringing to Guyana with the completion of the state-of-the-art research institute which will be used to train Guyanese.
The team was also taken to farms to look at the vast agricultural potential within the region. The delegation also included the Head of GO-Invest, Owen Verwey and the Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Frederick Flatts.
The agricultural project with NF Agriculture Inc. had been floated in August 2015 and had also predated the APNU+AFC government. It entailed cultivation of soya beans and corn at Ebini along the Berbice River.
Reis had been one of the principals of Muri Brasil Ventures Inc which had entered an agreement in 2012 with the PPP/C government for highly controversial mineral surveys of the New River Triangle in southern Guyana. Under the Permission for Geological and Geophysical Survey, the company had been granted the exclusive right to conduct surveys for rare earth elements, bauxite, limestone, nephelene, syenite, gold, diamonds and granite stones in South East Berbice for a period of 36 months from November 7, 2012.
After an outcry over the likelihood of prospecting licences being granted to the company in this sensitive area, the deal was scrapped. Reis had also attracted comment over his appearance on a PPP/C platform in Lethem prior to the 2011 general elections.