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NGMC General Manager, Nizam Hassan, said the recommendations were made after the consultant assessed the corporation’s central packaging facility.
Infrastructural works such as installation of additional washing facilities, widening of doors and raising of the floor have been done to create one big open packaging house.
“In 2003, the corporation plans to upgrade its central packaging facility with the construction of additional drying tables and conveyor belts”, Hassan said, adding that these improvements will allow it to move away from an intensive labour operation, using more machinery. The building will also be generally improved.
Hassan said the corporation has been working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Guyana Economic Opportunities (GEO) on various projects.
He reported that several market surveys were done in the United Kingdom, New York, Toronto and the Caribbean through a joint project with USAID and GEO, to ascertain demand and product choice,
Hassan said that Dr. David Picha, a post-harvest specialist, is at present in Guyana meeting with farmers and inspecting their farms. He is demonstrating to farmers and primary producers the cleaning of plantains and bananas, waxing of fruits and vegetables, and the de-greening of citrus using ethylene.
The NGMC is also to publish 15 technical bulletins with basic information for farmers, exporters and technicians, which will be used as a guide in the cultivation and marketing of particular crops.
Hassan noted that the ‘Buy Local’ activities held in Berbice, Essequibo and Georgetown have been successful and he anticipates new opportunities for exports regionally with the corporation’s participation in the recent 'Guyana on Show' exhibition, in Antigua.
"We have been assisting exporters in sourcing supplies and also working with potential investors who are conducting some trials with some yams. If that is successful, farmers will be contracted to grow these yams," Hassan said.
He also reported that a computer was installed with Internet access at the Charity Market Centre, Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) that will afford farmers the opportunity to be informed about world market prices and trends to explore potential markets.
Mr. Geoffrey Da Silva, Chairman of the Corporation’s Board of Directors, and Head of the GOINVEST, said the corporation will have to play a new role and we have been going through a process of examining the organisation and how to make it more customer driven."
He that the Government and the corporation are working with USAID and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to create active exporter associations throughout the country and that he is optimistic that within six months there will be a list of farmers who grow different types of products and who can be referenced to buyers in the available markets.
He assured that seminars and programmes implemented in 2002 shall be continued in next year with the corporation introducing information gained in other parts of the country