Guyanese-T&T joint venture aims to link “other crop” farmers to int’l markets
– already bearing fruit with massive shipment of coconuts to Florida
A Guyana-Trinidad and Tobago joint venture which seeks to increase the production of local farmers and connect them to international markets, is already bearing fruit with the exportation of 40,000 locally grown coconuts to Florida, United States of America (USA).
The joint venture in question involves GK Logistics, a local company that is affiliated with the Roraima Group of Companies and RAMPS Logistics, a T&T company that has done logistical services and shore base management for Exxon’s local operations since 2015.
According to a statement from Arapaima Logistics, which shipped the coconuts, the shipment of dried coconut arrived on March 28, 2022, and were sourced from farmers in Pomeroon in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
“The realisation of the initiative resulted from a collaboration between GK Logistics and Pomeroon farmers designed to source, package and transport agricultural produce for export markets. Ramps Logistics provided logistical support for the exercise utilising its international supply chain network to help connect the coconuts to the global market,” Arapaima explained.
Lauding the robust response of the farmers despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Arapaima described the shipping of the coconuts as a first step in the direction of increasing the volumes of local agricultural “other crop” produce exported to the international market, in keeping with Guyana’s objective of increasing its earnings from the country’s agricultural sector.
It was explained that the long-term goals of the project entail offering the farmers fixed-term contracts and incentives for them to increase their production. According to Arapaima, the farmers have been responding positively, having invested over the past year in upgrading their farms.
“Arapaima’s longer-term objective is to offer farmers fixed-term contracts that include secure payment arrangements. Ramps Logistics has also committed to utilising its supply chain network to seek to create further opportunities for farmers to secure guaranteed prices for their products once they are available.”
“Meanwhile, Arapaima Logistics is keen to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana and the Ministry’s supporting agencies, including the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), to increase opportunities for farmers and agro-processors to access regional and international markets.”
It is not lost on the company that the President Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government has been emphasising the development of Guyana’s agricultural sector and making Guyana the “breadbasket” of the Caribbean. In fact, it was President Ali who led the charge in announcing Guyana’s aim to reduce the Caribbean Community’s (Caricom) food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
“While Arapaima’s initial initiative involved a single commodity – coconuts – the company is committed to exploring international markets for other local agricultural produce, including pumpkin, pepper, plantain, eddoes, dasheen, yam, lime and pineapple,” they explained.
“With over sixty (60) years of experience in the logistics sector, Arapaima Logistics seeks to use its resources to create entrepreneurial opportunities outside the oil and gas sector. Contextually, this inaugural shipment of coconuts to the USA is the first of various opportunities the company intends to explore for exporting products from the Caribbean and South America to global markets and expanding its suite of services to Guyana.”
The services offered by Arapaima Logistics Incorporated include air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage, shore base management, personal logistics and immigration services, marine agency services, third-party procurement services, charters, medical evacuation, aircraft ground handling, aviation security, airline catering, accommodations, and tours.
It was only in January that Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, during an appearance before Parliament’s Sectoral Committee on Economic Services, had said that Guyana is in the process of reclaiming and expanding its “other crop” markets.