UAE’s investor advances interest in Guyana
By Guyana Chronicle
EVEN with the emergence of a thriving oil and gas sector, government’s focus remains on the development of Guyana’s non-oil economy. This was reiterated on Monday as Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh hosted yet another follow-up meeting with representatives of Elite Agro LLC of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The company’s Business Development Director, Chandra Pratap Singh, and its Chief Operating Officer, Emil Moukarzel were briefed on Guyana’s vision to expand the agricultural sector.
It was noted that currently, two big streams of opportunities are available to Elite Agro; either to be a direct investor, or to facilitate trade in agricultural commodities to other export destinations.
“Guyana has vast expanses of very rich and fertile land for agriculture,” Minister Singh noted.
He continued: “We have been, for a long time, a large-scale producer for specific agricultural crops such as sugar and rice, but we are now exporting a number of other commodities, which are ready for large-scale cultivation, and other crops that are poised for rapid expansion as well.”
Dr. Singh also informed the men that Guyana is the reliable producer of a wide selection of livestock and meat.
Also present at the meeting was Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, who indicated that with the emergence of oil and gas, it is expected that the oil-and-gas sector will complement the non-oil sector. Minister Mustapha said that government will invest in infrastructure to support the development and expansion of the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, the private sector representatives, who also attended the meeting, provided extensive and detailed presentations to Elite Agro on the investment potential in specific areas of agriculture, including the large-scale production of corn and soya bean, as well as the development of the seafood industry.
Wrapping up the meeting, Minister Singh indicated that his government, alongside the private sector, is aggressively pursuing investment as quickly as possible, as this will aid in the expansion of Guyana’s economy, as well as facilitate job-creation.
“We are a very stable environment, both politically and economically. Guyana is now a place where we are having conversations with all of the big companies of the world, and not just in agriculture, and this is a signal of how attractive we are for investment,” the Finance Minister concluded.
In addition to Minister Mustapha, Minister Singh was also accompanied by Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Paul Cheong, and other private sector representatives, including David Fernandes, who heads the consortium of local businessmen who have invested in a massive $45 million trial farm for corn and soya-bean production.
Sachin Singh, who heads another private sector consortium dealing with the expansion of the seafood sector, along with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Sharon Roopchand; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Dr. Peter Ramsaroop; and Aditya Persaud, Technical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, were also present at the meeting.
The engagement was a follow-up to earlier meetings held between President Dr. Irfaan Ali and officials of Elite Agro, which is one of the UAE’s leading agriculture companies with large-scale integrated farming operations, and currently engaged in the growing, sourcing, importing and marketing of agricultural products.