Orealla to become a major producer of cassava-based products
– $25M gov’t-funded agro-processing facility to be operational by year-end
Government remains cognisant that agro-processing facilities play a key role in the administration’s efforts to increase food security and promote sustainable economic growth.
Against this backdrop, the government is investing $25 million to construct, complete, retrofit and equip an agro-processing plant in the Amerindian village of Orealla located in Region Six, to enable the village to become a significant producer of cassava-based and other processed products.
During the solar home systems distribution recently, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh informed villagers that the facility is expected to be operational before the end of the year.
Dr Singh reminded that President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s vision for food security is to ensure that every village across Guyana specialises in a product that they have a comparative advantage in and in Orealla’s case, it is cassava-based products.
Cultivation of cassava is already underway in the village.
“Once that facility is commissioned, we would like to see this village be a major producer of cassava-based products. Selling those products not only in Orealla, not only in Moleson Creek and Crab Wood Creek, not only in Region Six, but nationally,” Dr Singh expressed.
The village can also resuscitate the processing of mango and pineapple cheese, a venture that the community undertook a long time ago.
“And Toshao, I am holding you to that commitment … I want to read the label and see Orealla produced cassava-based cassareep, flour, cassava bread … and I am holding you to that challenge,” the minister stated.
A similar facility is also being constructed in Crabwood Creek. The projects are critical elements of government’s push for enhanced food security, and by adding value to primary agriculture produce, agro-processing improves household incomes and opens up new opportunities.
“It’s just not a building with a few rooms and equipment; it is a facility through which economic independence can be achieved, incomes can be generated and families and individuals’ lives can be improved,” the minister underlined.
Meanwhile, Orealla has benefitted from substantial investments over the years, including carbon credit funds, of which $24 million was disbursed to the village; projects have already commenced in the village funded from the carbon credit.
Also, through funds provided by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs’ Presidential Grants, the village recently benefitted from a tractor and trailer along with implements.
“Toshao, I am glad to see that you have received your tractor and trailer and it is being put to good use and being taken good care of. And you would be pleased to know that Orealla is not the only village to have received one of those … because we want every single village to be able to develop a sustainable village economy,” he further expressed.
The village also received a fully-equipped fishing boat from the government, to aid the local fisherfolk in their daily activities.