Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Nigel Cumberbatch, said that dairy farmers and government’s social services can benefit from the establishment of a dairy plant.
Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder recently disclosed that the establishment of a dairy plant is among the options being looked at for the soon to be closed Wales Sugar Factory.
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), the GLDA CEO said, “I think it’s a good idea and one that we should actively pursue in ensuring that we have a processing facility so that our farmers can have some place to be able to sell their milk to. Certainly, I do support the initiative.”
Among those who stand to benefit from a dairy processing plant are dairy cattle farmers, the Government’s Schools’ Feeding Programme, regional hospitals and other government social services provider.
The CEO said some of the complaints the agency gets is that farmers have no place to sell their milk because many persons are not keen on buying fresh cows’ milk and going through the processes needed to preserve it for use.
Cumberbatch said the establishment of a dairy processing plant can be the catalyst for reinvigorating the country’s dairy industry. “We have a number of farmers that do milk their animals. If these farmers recognize that there is an outlet for them to be able to sell their milk, it can be the fillip that the whole dairy production system requires to enable our own dairy production to be increased, so we have to ensure that there is an outlet for our farmers to be able to sell their milk,” Cumberbatch said.
While Guyana currently imports a majority of its dairy products from the Caribbean, Cumberbatch said, “I don’t know that these countries have dairy animals. What most of them do is purchase butter, oil and milk powder and reconstitute milk. Clearly Guyana can begin by looking at doing the same.”
According to the CEO of the Livestock Development Authority, it would be advantageous to the country which has an advantage over sister CARICOM countries because local dairy cattle farmers milk their cattle and will be part of the supply chain for the processing plant.
The National Dairy Development Programme falls within the ambits of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA).
The GLDA also provides artificial insemination and other related services to farmers with the aim of diversifying and improving cattle breeds locally. The authority has been making efforts to move some of the farmers away from the Holstein dairy cattle and encouraging them to rear the Brown Swiss and the Jersey breeds of dairy cattle, which are more adapted to local conditions.
The Jersey and Brown Swiss breeds are smaller animals; they can fit better within the system and give just as much milk as the Holstein, Cumberbatch explained..