A large rice mill has been installed and is operational. (Internet Image)
Guyana’s agriculture sector is reaping big benefits from the multimillion dollar investment of Barbadian business mogul Sir Kyffin Simpson.
More than a year after Sir Kyffin pumped substantial funds into the Santa Fe Mega Farm, Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture has been documenting the venture’s success, including the export of thousands of tonnes of rice to Brazil and the rearing of livestock.
Led by Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy, the Guyanese have also highlighted plans to boost regional food production through the cultivation of soya beans and corn.
Recent information detailed by the ministry said not only had Santa Fe been “a success story”, but its operations were “to be further expanded”.
The ministry said last year more than 8 000 tonnes of rice was exported to Brazil, and that some of this crop was also supplying the local “Region 9 market”. A rice mill was constructed after the Barbados investors moved in.
Santa Fe is located in Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region, which is about 231 miles south-west of Georgetown and, according to information from the Guyana ministry, the project “modelled its cultivation on techniques used in Brazil as well as that in Guyana and utilises a Brazilian expert to guide the process”.
“There continues to be progress every time I visit Santa Fe. Such success is a model which shows what can be done in savannah lands,” Ramsammy was quoted as saying.
Sir Kyffin’s investment includes “cash crop and the production/rearing of piglets, cows and sheep” and cattle. Agriculture officials said the farm also had adequate drainage, irrigation canals and a pump system.
They anticipated that expanding into the production of soya beans and corn would “significantly aid the Caribbean in reducing its imports of the said commodities and allow for trade and expanded markets within the region”.
When news of Sir Kyffin’s investment in Santa Fe was announced in March 2013, it was reported that 10 000 acres of land was being prepared for cultivation, which would be increased to 30 000 acres more as production increased. There was also an option to triple the acreage. The first rice crop was harvested from 120 acres of land. (SC)