Gov’t, DDL to mobilise fruit farmers

-Finance Minister tours complex

Finance Minister Winston Jordan (third from left) posing with some DDL workers.

Government and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) have agreed to work on mobilizing fruit and vegetable farmers to supply more produce to the company for processing.

This was one of the outcomes of an August 24th visit by Finance Minister Winston Jordan to DDL’s operations at Diamond on the East Bank Demerara.

A joint government/DDL press release said that Jordan reiterated the administration’s commitment to enhance collaboration with the private sector.

DDL’s Executive Chairman, Komal Samaroo, briefed the minister and his team on the company’s current and planned projects, which include the expansion of its packaging plant to facilitate the introduction of a variety of new products, the relocation of its TOPCO juice plant, the opening of its new 45,000 square foot warehouse last October which will serve as the new Headquarters of Distribution Services Limited (DSL), and the introduction of a solar farm to meet the energy needs of the company, the joint statement said.

During a working lunch at the company’s Heritage Centre, the release said that the teams discussed the current situation regarding the supply of molasses, the company’s ongoing efforts to increase exports of its premium branded rum on the international market, the intensification of its diversification programme measures to enhance the competitiveness of local products seeking export markets, and the training of required skills in science and technology to meet the future demands of the manufacturing sector.

According to the statement, Jordan pointed to the need for DDL to expand its range of fruit juices to include more local fruits and even vegetables. It was agreed that one area of collaboration between the government and DDL should be the mobilization of farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture to grow and supply fruits and vegetables which would meet the required standards for processing, packaging and sale on the local and international markets.

Samaroo disclosed that DDL had held discussions with Agriculture Minister Noel Holder on the matter the previous week and had also met with the University of Guyana to discuss DDL’s support for a food technology laboratory at UG, the statement said.

Jordan also had an on-the-spot look at the proposed new land use programme for the area, which was recently approved by Cabinet following discussions between the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and DDL.

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