Though Guyana is poised to receive trillions of dollars in revenue from 10 ExxonMobil’s projects planned for this decade in the Stabroek Block, the PPP/C Government is determined not to let the non-oil economy fall by the wayside. As a demonstration of this stated intention, the Ministry of Finance said talks were held today between Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and Executive Members of Elite Agro LLC of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), specifically Chandra Pratap Singh, Director of Business Development and Emil Moukarzel, the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Elite Agro LLC is regarded as the UAE’s leading agriculture company with several large-scale integrated farming operations. Established in January 2010 as an independent business unit, the company adopted a structured approach which allowed it to move into the world of corporate farming swiftly and professionally. Today, Elite Agro is synonymous with smart farming. Its expertise is in custom-building farming facilities, installation of top-of-the-line farming equipment, irrigation systems, greenhouses and other farm infrastructure.
Accompanying the Finance Minister at the meeting today were Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha and Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond. Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Paul Cheong along with David Fernandes, Head of a consortium dealing with the expansion of corn and soya-bean production in Guyana, and Sachin Singh who heads another private sector consortium dealing with the expansion of the seafood sector, were also present.
During the meeting, Minister Singh explained to the officials of Elite Agro LLC that traditionally agriculture has been an extremely important anchor in Guyana’s economy and today will still be an important anchor in the non-oil economy. He also indicated that with Guyana looking to expand the agricultural sector currently, two big streams of opportunities are available to Elite Agro LLC 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. We have been for a long time a large-scale producer for specific 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. We also produce a wide selection of livestock and meat for consumption,” Dr. Singh pointed out.
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.
It should be noted that the meeting was a follow-up to earlier meetings held between President Irfaan Ali and officials of Elite Agro LLC. It also forms part of the President’s implementation strategy for diversification of Guyana’s non-oil sector.