The Government of Guyana and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) have agreed to examine the implementation of a private/public partnership to develop the local dairy industry to provide for milk and dairy products. The partnership will also seek to expand local juice production with the Ministry of Agriculture embarking on a program to encourage market driven agriculture.
This was among the decisions taken Wednesday when Agriculture Minister Noel Holder and a team from his ministry toured the operations of DDL at Diamond during which there were wide-ranging discussions with a DDL team headed by its Chairman, Komal Samaroo.
The meeting also viewed a presentation by a visiting team of personnel from Tetra Pak, a Swiss headquartered company with which DDL is currently finalizing an agreement for the design and supply of a new packaging plant to be installed next year at Diamond. The presentation also included a system for the effective collection of fresh milk from dairy farmers.
Minister Holder’s visit is the third by a government minister over the past three months as DDL and Government seek to work together to ensure a smooth and coordinated approach to the implementation of their respective development projects. Earlier visits were paid by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and Finance Minister Winston Jordan. These followed visits late last year by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Business Minister Dominic Gaskin.
Minister Holder during the meeting indicated that Guyana’s milk and milk products imports amount to about $25 million (US) and the production of milk locally would eliminate this expenditure while creating jobs and generating revenue for local cattle farmers. He said there is a pool of animals in Guyana that can be converted to dairy production over the next five to ten years.
He said that DDL with its technical, marketing and management expertise is best suited to partner with Government to pursue the production of milk in Guyana.
The Government of Guyana through the Guyana Livestock Authority will provide the required expertise inartificial insemination, embryo transplant techniques, pasture management and on farm development and milk collection activities.
“There are synergies for us to work together and to access the needed resources through international agencies such as the World Food Program,” he said.
Mr. Samaroo said that DDL is open to pursuing a partnership with the Government and will continue to engage in moving the process forward as part of the company’s diversification plans.