By Vishani Ragobeer
LR Group, an Israeli company, seeks to establish the Caribbean region’s most advanced dairy farm in Guyana and produce more than four million liters of milk per year.
The creation of this dairy farm is done in collaboration with Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) of Guyana, which should already start selling packaged milk from this month.
And, Joseph Harrosh, the director of LR Group, explains that the Israeli company is making this investment because it believes Guyana is “ripe” for agricultural development.
“… There is a lot of water, very fertile land, a good climate and it can be (the) breadbasket for the whole CARICOM region,” Harrosh said in an exclusive interview with the ward. press Friday evening.
He added: “It’s a place where we can invest, we can form joint ventures, partnerships and grow together.”
Harrosh visited Guyana for a few days before leaving on Saturday. During this time, he met with a number of key stakeholders to move the dairy farm project forward.
Already, the LR group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DDL; the two companies are expected to collaborate in a number of areas.
But, said Harrosh, “this will be the first development project of the most advanced dairy farm in the region, which would produce between four and five million liters of milk per year, including all processed products – yogurt, cheese. and others. . “
Importantly, he said the dairy farm could employ more than 200 people, including many private ranchers who would provide fresh cow’s milk to the farm.
As part of the MoU, the two companies are also working on a feasibility study to determine the most suitable location for the dairy farm. To this end, it was explained that drainage, access to electricity and proximity to a road network are among the considerations.
Guyana has been reported to import around US $ 25 million worth of dairy products annually. But Tropical Orchard Products Company Limited (TOPCO), a subsidiary of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), is expected to produce locally made milk from this month.
The company will start selling reconstituted milk, which is produced simply by adding water to the dried or concentrated form of fluid milk (i.e. powdered milk).
As the company continues to sell these products, however, it aims to use fresh cow’s milk for pasteurization and packaging. Pasteurization is the process of heating raw milk to remove all pathogens (bacteria or viruses that can cause disease).
Due to this anticipated transition to pasteurization and packaging of cow’s milk, instead of using imported powdered milk, DDL is eager to establish this dairy farm.
“Early next year, we plan to have a technical team from the LR group to essentially finalize these more technical requirements (of the feasibility study),” Wesley Kirton, DDL government affairs consultant, told the press room.
The company expects the feasibility study to be completed early next year. And, by mid-2022, the preparatory work for the construction of the dairy farm should start.
Beyond the fight against the costly importation of dairy products from the country, Kirton believes that this dairy farm could penetrate the CARICOM market. This CARICOM market, according to CARICOM Today News, has an annual food import bill of around US $ 5 billion.
But entering that market may require some adjustments to CARICOM’s common external tariffs on products to help make Guyanese milk exported to the Caribbean a little more competitive.
This external tariff is a single tariff rate (a tax or a duty) accepted by all members of the CARICOM community on imports of a product from outside the community.
In the context of dairy production, the region imports most of its milk and with the potential addition of Guyanese milk to the market, this tariff would ensure that the cost of Guyanese milk is competitive with imported milk.
“We have already pointed out to the government because CARICOM promotes food security, self-sufficiency where possible and we are serious about it,” Kirton said.