Dec 14, 2008 News
While 25 projects were submitted for financing at the Agriculture Investment Forum, only eight have been funded.
Advisor on Agriculture at the Caricom Secretariat, Sam Lawrence, said that the 25 projects that were submitted sought some US$50M investment.
The eight that have already negotiated financing managed to succeed in getting just under US$10M in funding.
Speaking to the local and regional media during the Caricom Secretariat’s end-of-year press conference, Lawrence said that there is a quarterly reporting mechanism system in place, which is updated on the status of all investments in the region as a result of the forum.
“When we reported on September 30 last, we had eight projects that were already funded. Five projects were in the process of advanced negotiations, and others were still being discussed,” Lawrence said.
Of the projects funded, he added, only one is being executed in Guyana.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said that Guyana’s agriculture investment is not restricted to those that were presented at the part of the forum.
He said that countries had only a limited number of projects at the forum.
In Guyana, the minister added, there are a number of projects that are at implementation and discussion stages.
According to Persaud, there are two major ethanol projects for which Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) have been signed. These are to the tune of some US$400M with an Indian and a regional investor.
Other small-scale investments are also on board, he added.
Over the past six months, the Agriculture Minister said, there have been some 50 agriculture investment projects from investors from within Guyana, the Caribbean and beyond.
He added that there are also a large number of persons who have expressed interest in various areas within and outside of the sector.
Many of these, he said, are at early stages of discussion, adding that new land areas are being examined for these investments.
Developers have been given lands outside of the acute flood zones.
He pointed out that areas such as the Soesdyke/Linden Highway are among the new zones where investors are being granted permits to develop.
This, he said, is being done in order for investors to facilitate their own infrastructural designs.
At the conclusion of the Agriculture Investment Forum which was hosted on June 6, it was stated that President Bharrat Jagdeo would have been approaching financial institutions on the possibility of establishing a special financing window for small states, explicitly recognising the characteristics related to size and vulnerability.
It was stated that the President, who is responsible for Agriculture in the region, would have also been making the representation on behalf of the private sector in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Speaking at the press conference shortly after the conclusion of the Regional Agriculture Forum, Guyana’s Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud had said that, to ensure the indicative agreements reached and comments made at the forum bear fruit, it was decided that monitoring, supporting and reporting processes and mechanisms would be established.
This private/public sector mechanism should be an ongoing feature and report at least bi-annually to the CARICOM Head responsible for Agriculture.
Some 150 participants from across the region and Latin America attended the conference, which was hosted in Guyana.
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