Guyana’s coconut industry is about to get a big boost with the establishment of a nursery in the Pomeroon by British businessman, Duncan Turnbull who recently set up a local company, Pomeroon Trading Inc.
The company, which is currently rehabilitating a 700-acre estate leased from the Stoll family, aims to use technology to transform the local industry.Thirty thousand seedlings have already been planted and this is likely to be increased to 50,000 in the next year.
Duncan explained that the unavailability of coconut seedlings is one of the key reasons for underperformance in the local coconut sector. “We are trying to tackle this problem at the most fundamental level.”
He added, “Existing estates are often ageing and unproductive. [Most importantly], without the right planting materials, the industry cannot revitalize.” The company aims to be the largest supplier of planting materials in Pomeroon.
Duncan and his team recently met with the Minister of Agricultural, Noel Holder and the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI)’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Oudho Homenauth to provide an update on the nursery and works being done to rehabilitate the estate.
The British businessman expressed his gratitude for the support he has received from NAREI and the Ministry of Agriculture. Presently, he said that his company has provided employment to about 40 persons in the community and has replanted 30,000 coconut trees.
While the company’s main aim is to export coconut water, it will be experimenting with value added processing facilities, including using coconut husk for biofuels. Additionally, the company will be intercropping with avocado, turmeric, black pepper, ginger, moringa, passion fruit and stevia.
They are looking at high value crops that can be processed in Guyana before being exported. Furthermore, the company recently built and headed over a dining hall to the Hackney primary school as part of its corporate social Responsibility in the community.