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The Ministry of Agriculture, on Wednesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Israeli company, KARLICO INC. making way for the development of a hydroponic production system project in Guyana.
Last October, Agriculture Minister, Mr. Zulfikar Mustapha, disclosed government was in talks with investors from Israel who have expressed an interest in developing a large-scale hydroponic project.
Hydroponics and other forms of smart agriculture are becoming more prominent within farming communities across the country.
The minister told reporters Israelis were among several investors who expressed an interest in setting up hydroponic systems in Guyana. He also indicated the project will be integrated into the current shade house project on the East Coast of Demerara.
KARLIGO INC.’s team of local and international experts is said to specialise in the development, financing, construction, and management of agricultural and Agri-tech projects.
With an estimated investment of USD $15,750,000, the project will involve a three-phase hydroponic production system based on nutrient film techniques and soilless production systems. These systems shall be designed for the production of fresh herbs, lettuce, and other leafy vegetables as well as other high-value crops.
The first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed three months after the necessary groundworks are completed, will see the company setting up a 2,000-square-metre state-of-the-art hydroponic system which will include a cold room, packaging facility, harvesting equipment, irrigation controllers, fertiliser mixers, water recycling system, and emergency water storage among other things.
Phase two will see the construction and installation of an advanced greenhouse system while phase three will involve the construction of a regional distribution center where a variety of agricultural and food products will be collected, processed, packaged, and delivered to both local and international markets, meeting all of the necessary U.S.D.A and European Food Safety Authority standards and regulations.
CARICOM Heads of Government has agreed to work together to reduce the region’s food import by 25 per cent by 2025. CARICOM’s bill is pegged at approximately US$5 billion per year, though some analysts believe it is much higher.