Farmlands Guyana to ramp up local corn, soya production from next month

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha (at head of table) meeting with the investors, March 2023 (Ministry of Agriculture photo)
News Room | 21 October 2023

Farmlands Guyana to ramp up local corn, soya production from next month
Inspired by the national and regional drive towards food security, local company – Farmlands Guyana Inc. (FGI) – is looking to put into cultivation next month, 500 acres of corn and soya beans (250 acres of corn and 250 acres of soya).
This company owns 25, 000 acres of land in the Ebini area, located up the Upper Berbice River in Region 10.
With just two years left on the clock for the region to accomplish its goal of slashing its food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, Farmlands Guyana Inc. (FGI) hopes to put the entire 25, 000 acres of land into cultivation in the coming months.
Its market focus starts with the opportunity presented by the more than 15 million people living within the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) who spend more than US$5 billion on food annually.
This project supplements existing corn and soya beans cultivation in the growing agriculture hub of Region Ten and aims to help Guyana achieve its national goal to also be self-sufficient in grain production by 2025.
“Planting will start in November. The plan will be to double our current production until we achieve 100% usage of our allocated acreage,” Company Representative Abigail Welch told the News Room during a recent interview.
Welch said startup operations are going well with plans to employ locals from the area to commence work on a machinery shed and farmhouses.
“It’s been good, we have gotten the support of the government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We have not experienced any difficulty in the procedural aspect,” Welch said while pointing out the support the company has received from the government such as tax concessions and special incentives on imports.
“FGI anticipates it would be a prominent participant in the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector. Our business model, therefore, creates opportunities for technology transfer, the introduction of new farming techniques to Guyana and the absorption of local labour,” Welch added.
She said there are plans to get into the value-added aspect of the business in the future. The company is currently participating in the ongoing Agri-Investment Forum and Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
Guyana’s corn and soya bean production has been on the rise, with the government committing to the cultivation of these crops in the intermediate savannahs in order to become self-sufficient by 2025.
The commitment to expand cultivation of these crops is also in keeping with the government’s manifesto promise.

Stabroek News | 31 March 2023

A company by the name of Farmlands Guyana Inc is gearing up to cultivate 1,000 hectares of land in the Tacama Savannah, Berbice  with corn and soya beans, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
A release from the ministry said that Investors from Farmlands Guyana Inc met with Agriculture Minister  Zulfikar Mustapha yesterday at his Regent Street office to discuss operations as it gears up to begin work on an initial 1,000 hectares of land in the Tacama Savannah. 
During the meeting, it was disclosed that 700 hectares will be used to cultivate soya and the remaining 300 hectares will be used to grow corn. The company is expected to begin cultivation in November and hopes to increase its acreages to some 24,000 hectares in the coming years.  No information was provided on the origins of the investors.
Last September, a technical team comprising four technicians from Argentina and other officials from the company visited the area to conduct an assessment of the land to determine the logistics involved in transporting inputs and outputs, water sources and irrigation solutions, soil types, existing infrastructure such as roads, storage and drying facilities, varieties and types of inputs required to successfully grow corn and soya bean.
This is the second group of investors who have set out on developing the industry to supply inputs for the production of feed for the livestock industry, the release noted.
Mustapha said that the government has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support the industry. So far works have been moving apace on the construction of facilities such as three 3000-tonne silos and one 80-tonne-per-hour drying tower at the Tacama Landing. 
In 2022, some $887 million was budgeted to undertake  infrastructural works needed to support the large-scale cultivation of corn and soya bean.
Of that amount, $426 million was budgeted for the rehabilitation of 47 kilometers of a vital Ituni to Tacama farm-to-market road, beginning from the junction of the Linden/ Ituni road and heading east towards the Berbice River.  In 2021, some $102 million was spent to begin rehabilitation works on the road.
Mustapha said with the addition of another company in the large-scale cultivation of corn and soya beans, Guyana was well on its way to meeting its target of 25,000 acres in the next two years.
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