President Ali highlights importance of private sector collaboration to meet wheat, animal feed future demands
President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has urged the subsidiary of the National Milling Company of Guyana (NAMILCO), Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group, to explore reengineering its operations to tap into the US$30 million feed production industry that is currently being developed by the government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
Guyana’s current import of corn and soya as an input for feed production annually stands at US$23 million. The PPP/C administration is currently working to position Guyana as a prime destination for feed production to the CARICOM market as it seeks to lessen the food import bill.
President Ali was at the time delivering the feature address at the commissioning of NAMILCO’s US$8 million mixing plant located at Agricola, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
“That is why we’re now moving to the position of being our producer of corn and soya. This brings a business opportunity for you and this is what we want Seaboard to sit with us now to see how we reengineer, you have to look at where the policies are going and see how we re-engineer what you do,” the head of state underscored.
With the Seaboard company already involved in the feed industry, the head of state believes through a partnership with this company, a major feed facility can be established in Guyana to meet the demand.
“If Guyana now becomes the prime destination for our production of corn and soya, supplemented with the corn and soya from northern Brazil, then we can have a major feed facility here that then drives up into the CARICOM market … this will require you to do some reengineering of your logistics trade,” President Ali expounded.
Additionally, Guyana is working to become its own producer of wheat as successful trials at Paramakatoi in Region Eight and Santa Fe in Region Nine were recorded. This initiative was birthed when the price of flour spiked, due to the Russia-Ukraine war which impacted wheat production.
This too, is another viable industry that the private sector such as NAMILCO can explore when it embarks upon its expansion.
“Now we have to upskill testing and production … the result has shown so far that wheat can successfully be grown, now wheat successfully grown competitively is another part of the equation that we have to address our minds to,” he stated.
According to President Ali, the production of protein can also be a viable industry that can be explored by NAMILCO and its subsidiary, which is why the administration is working with several innovation groups from around the world.
Revenues earned from the oil and gas industry are pushing the diversification of Guyana’s economy including the development of the food and agriculture industry.
Concerning the energy challenges faced by the manufacturing sector, President Ali assured that works on the multi-million-dollar gas-to-energy project at Wales, will be completed in two years, thereby paving the way for energy costs to be reduced by 50 per cent.
“We want to ensure that when you make these types of investments and you have the opportunity to get energy costs, we want to see how you’re going to penetrate other markets. How you’re going to ensure your product gets into Northern Brazil, how your product gets into the Caribbean market, how your product gets into the northern America market, especially with a diaspora as large as ours,” President Ali added.
He also noted that the transport and logistic challenges in Guyana must be addressed by the private sector so that businesses can flourish.
United States Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Komal Singh, President and CEO of Seaboard Corp, Jacob Bresky and Managing Director of NAMILCO, Bert Sukhai were also present at the commissioning.