Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, recently assessed the progress of the eagerly-awaited hydroponic project at the National Agricultural and Extension Institute (NAREI) in Mon Repos, East Coast of Demerara. This venture is an extension of the existing shade house project. It is expected to be ready by mid-October.
The Israeli firm, KARLICO Inc., is spearheading the development, focusing on the cultivation of high-value crops such as fresh herbs, lettuce, and various green vegetables.
In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister Mustapha highlighted that these premium crops, cultivated through hydroponics, are destined for export.
The initial phase of the project will see the establishment of a state-of-the-art 2,000-square-metre system by KARLICO. This system will boast features like a cold storage room, packaging area, advanced harvesting tools, irrigation management, fertiliser mixers, a water reprocessing system, and emergency water reserves.
Minister Mustapha relayed the manager’s projection: “By mid-October, plants will be thriving within this 2,000-square-metre space. Multiple hydroponic techniques will be employed to cultivate leafy vegetables for export, primarily to the Caribbean and North America.”
Estimated to cost US $15.750 million, the project utilizes a cutting-edge, three-phase hydroponic production approach, leveraging nutrient film techniques and soilless cultivation systems.
Reflecting on the project’s inception, Minister Mustapha recalled discussions with Israeli investors last October. They had shown keen interest in launching a large-scale hydroponic venture. “This collaboration was a direct outcome of the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo we held last year. KARLICO was one of the companies eager to invest here,” he shared.
The commitment to this significant project was formalized in December 2022, when the government and KARLICO Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).