Minister pushes for public-private partnership at Parika Packaging Facility

-operations to restart there soon

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha has said operations at the Parika Packaging Facility would soon be restarting and the Government is inviting public-private partnerships to drive economic development in Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three).

The facility was established by the PPP/C Administration during their last tenure in office. Minister Mustapha said while he cannot recall its effective functioning during the APNU+AFC Coalition Administration, an inspection of the facility, earlier this week revealed an “underutilised” building.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha and NGMC’s General Manager, Ms. Teshawna Lall during the inspection of the agro-packaging facility at Parika.

To this end, Minister Mustapha has instructed Ms. Teshawna Lall, General Manager of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) “to get the ball rolling” and accelerate efforts to restart operations at the factory. 

“There is a plantain chips factory at the side that is not utilised too. That started like a year ago and it hasn’t fulfilled its potential. I am looking to see if we can also outsource that for other people to utilise because they are some very good equipment there,” the Minster said.

Minister Mustapha said revamping operations at the facility would open economic opportunities for farmers and businesspersons.

“Equipment which can be taken advantage of to do valued-added production; that is a very lucrative business. I don’t know why it failed, but I am here and I want to assure members of the public that we will ensure that this facility is utilised,” he added.

One of the machines at the Parika Packaging Facility.

Operations are expected to restart before end of the first quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, the Corporation’s General Manager said the entity would be retrofitting the factory based on the needs of the community, with focus placed on providing avenues for women to earn.

Ms. Lall said the manufacturing of plantain chips started in February 2020 and was halted in August due to an error in the manufacturing process.  However, she anticipates that the Region would earn more revenues through public-private partnerships, adding that the construction of the plantain chips storage facility would be completed by the end of March. Currently, four persons are stationed at the packaging plant while the other employees were sent to different locations.