Investors’ interest in corn, soya cultivation growing – Mustapha

…says Tacama project could expand to 3000 acres by year-end

Following on the heels of the success of corn and soya cultivations such as the Tacama project in Upper Demerara-Berbice, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has said that investor interest in such projects is growing.
In fact, the Minister revealed to this publication in an exclusive interview that the Government is in talks with these investors, who are looking to get into the industry. He explained that overseas-based investors are especially interested in cultivating corn and soya.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha

“There are a number of other investors who are coming into the country and who are saying they are interested in (investing). So, we are looking at these investments. We are partnering with them and seeing how we can increase. But there are a number of those people who are saying they want to get into corn and soya.”
When it comes to the cultivation of the 1200 acres of soya bean at Tacama, under the auspices of a consortium that includes local and foreign investors, Mustapha was hopeful that the yield can be increased by year-end to 3000 acres.
“If you look yesterday, I said to the press that the silos will be completed by May. The drying facilities. We did the road and a number of other infrastructure work will be done there. This crop, the consortium will be harvesting close to 1200 acres of soya beans. I’m hoping by the end of this year, that will increase to 3000 acres,” Minister Mustapha said.

The soya bean under cultivation at Tacama, Upper Demerara-Berbice

The soya bean at Tacama is being cultivated by a consortium that includes Guyana Stockfeed Limited, Edun Farms and Bounty Farm Limited. Other investors are Royal Chicken, SBM Wood, Dubulay Ranch, and the Brazilian-owned N F Agriculture.
Bounty Farm Assistant Managing Director David Fernandes had recently told this publication that the soya bean crop was on course to be harvested in late March or early April, with an expected 1200 tonnes of soya bean slated to be harvested.
It was further explained by Fernandes that this crop would be used strictly for livestock feed. He also made it clear that he was optimistic about the sector, notwithstanding some of the challenges initially faced.
The large-scale trial cultivation of corn and soya bean by private investors was announced by the Government in 2021. In the feed industry, Guyana imports close to US$30 million in products annually. The aim is to not just attain self-sufficiency but establish the country as a net exporter of soya.
The key stakeholders in the massive corn and soya bean project include the Government, farmers, and private companies. The Government has played a crucial role in supporting the growth of the industry, with a commitment of over $1.2 billion to infrastructural development in the Tacama area.
Last year, the Government improved access to the area by constructing 40 kilometres of road, with the remaining seven kilometres scheduled to be completed in 2023. Additionally, the Government invested in a drying and storage facility for corn and soya bean which will be completed by the first quarter of this year, establishing the first such facility in the country.
In 2021, the Government started the trial of 125 acres of corn and soya bean, which showed major success. Previously, Mustapha had said that the intention was to continuously increase production to cover at least 25,000 acres by 2025. The Minister had expressed the belief that the aim of becoming self-sufficient by 2025 was ambitious, but with the continued support of the Government and the private sector, it was achievable.
The Government’s investment in infrastructure and facilities is expected to significantly increase the yields and profits of farmers, and boost the country’s economy. Minister Mustapha has already announced his Ministry’s plans to start cultivating corn and soya bean in Moco Moco Village, North Rupununi.
The Ministry is also assessing the capacity in other regions, with the aim of taking the project there in the future. Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has provided farmers with subsidies and training programmes to help increase their yields and improve their livelihoods.