Approximately 700 farmers, agro-processors to benefit from Fort Wellington processing facility

  • as gov’t continues to push value-added production

The Government of Guyana, in an effort to further commercialize value-added production through agro-processing, has been working to establish agro-processing facilities across the country.

Today, Agriculture Minister, Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha commissioned a state-of-the-art agro-processing facility at Fort Wellington, West Coast Berbice (Region Five).

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha along with GMC’s GM, Teshawna Lall and GMC staff Dwight Harris enamines a bottle of pepper sauce

The $ 37 million investment will see approximately 700 persons including farmers, agro-processors, women, youth, and other stakeholders from Regions Five and Six benefiting from improved services geared at increasing the value and extending the shelf life of their products. 

The facility is outfitted with the necessary equipment to process and package approximately 4,320 liters of green seasoning and 3,600 liters of pepper sauce monthly and is designed to offer 24-hour service as well as a mechanization process to reduce operational costs.

While offering remarks, Minister Mustapha challenged farmers to make full use of the facility and said that the government intends to ensure the agriculture sector develops its agro-processing capabilities.

The newly comissioned facility is outfitted with equipment to package sauces in bottles and packets

“Many times, the government may expend large sums of money to build new facilities but the farmers are not making full use of it. These facilities will help us to develop and modernize our agriculture sector. These initiatives are not new for this government because when you look at the plans, we have for the agriculture sector; the plans that were detailed in our manifesto, it stated that we have to move the sector from a primary productive sector to one with value-added capabilities. By the end of the year, we’ll see around nine facilities like this one being opened across the country,” the minister said.

Minister Mustapha also said with CARICOM now looking to reduce its food import bill, more locally-made products are being exported to countries in the region.

“When you look around the Caribbean, our produce is in demand. We are working to remove all the non-tariff barriers that were preventing our products from entering those markets. We are now seeing more products being exported to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and other countries in the Eastern Caribbean,” he noted.

Some of the products that will be produced at the newly comissioned facility

General Manager of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (New GMC), Ms. Teshawna Lall said the establishment of the facility is a result of multiple dialogues and engagements between Minister Mustapha and various stakeholders from Regions Five and Six. She added that stakeholders will now benefit from better prices as well as an increase in access to regional and international markets.

“Given the geographical location of this facility, its design encompasses modern equipment, and an effortless production process to reduce wastage and spoilage drastically. Additionally, all stakeholders will also enjoy better prices for their products by penetrating more markets locally and internationally as a result of valued added production,” she noted.

This year, the New GMC is expected to commence construction and/or retrofitting of a number of agro-processing and packaging facilities across the country. Last month, Minister Mustapha commissioned a similar facility in St. Ignitions in Region Nine that will be used primarily for the production and packaging of peanut butter. Another facility is expected to be commissioned in Region Nine (deep south) before the end of the year.