Firm to supply Region One with bio-diesel
By Shirley Thomas
April 6, 2007
AGRI Solutions Technologies Inc, a local and newly-incorporated fuel manufacturing consortium, has clinched a deal to manufacture and supply bio-diesel to the administration of Region One (Barima/Waini) at a price which does not exceed the price of fossil fuel previously used by the administration.
BIG FIRST: at the signing, from left, Mr. Ganga Persaud, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government; Mr. Dwarka Persaud, President, Agri Solution Technologies Incorporated; Mr. Robert Persaud, Minister of Agriculture; Mr. Winston Brassington, Head of the Privatisation Unit and Mrs. Marcia Sharma of the Privatisation Unit.
Initially, officials said, the plant will be producing 200 barrels of the fuel per month and output is expected to increase later.
As production continues apace, the company said it plans to bring in additional oil palm plants from Costa Rica and Malaysia to expand its programme.
A contract for the supply of the fuel to be produced from palm oil at the Wauna Oil Palm Estate, was yesterday signed between Agri Solutions Technologies Inc. and the Ministry of Local Government.
Signing on behalf of the company was its President, Mr. Dwarka Persaud, a Canadian-based Guyanese, while Permanent Secretary in the Local Government Ministry, Mr. Ganga Persaud signed on behalf of the Regional Administration of Region One.
The signing took place at the Ministry of Agriculture and was witnessed by Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Robert Persaud; Mr. Winston Brassington, Head of the Privatisation Unit; Mr. Suresh Narine of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology, among others.
Persaud, who migrated from Guyana 39 years ago, said he was excited at being able to play a part in helping to rebuild Guyana.
He said the project at Wauna in the Mabaruma sub-region of Region One will initially put to use more than ten acres of oil palm for the production of bio-diesel, with technical input by IAST.
He said that on his return to Canada, IAST will continue to oversee the operations of the project.
Narine said when a project such as this comes to fruition “one cannot help feeling elated”.
It, he said, represents a coming of age and is a model for the future of the country revolving on the use of appropriate technology.
Narine said much of the technology employed at the new entity was adapted and with inputs provided by local staff.
Minister Persaude thanked Minister Robnert Persaud and , equally elated about this big first for Guyana, said he considered it a “win-win” situation for everyone in Guyana, noting that the development of a project of this nature on a commercial basis, reflects well, and takes the work of IAST to another level.
He said a ready market for the product will be assured, adding that employment will also be guaranteed for many persons left unemployed after the palm oil company, NEOCOL, ceased operations at Wauna.
The minister saw it as a good project from which all Guyana could benefit, and hoped the example set here by IAST will inspire other agencies, such as the Hope coconut estate on the East Coast Demerara, to take the initiative.
The Wauna Oil Palm Project, which previously produced edible oil under the management of the National Edible Oil Company (NEOCOL), went out of operation several years ago as a producer of edible oil, putting several residents of the community out of employment.
However, with the bio-diesel entity coming on stream, employment for the people of the region can be guaranteed, said Persaud, the company President.
He said the project began assembling machinery and equipment about mid last year and actually began bio-diesel production around November last.
To date, he said, some US$22,000 has been invested in the project scheme but the company’s budgeted cost over the next five years will be about US$1.5M.
Permanent Secretary Persaud said the project will, in effect, reduce the region’s dependence on fossil fuel and will cater for the diesel needs of the regional administration at Mabaruma, Hosororo, Barabina, and Kumaka.