Local, foreign farmers granted Wales land

first_imgAn example of the conditions under which rice has to grow– over 1000 acres under rice cultivation– NICIL mum on terms of leasesLand from the Wales sugar estate, one of several estates that Government has moved to privatise, has been snapped up by local and overseas farmers, with over a thousand acres of that land now under rice cultivation.This was revealed by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) on Monday. According to NICIL Special Purpose Unit (SPU) head, Colvin Heath-London, his unit’s diversification team has been coordinating this process.“In terms of the divestment at Wales, the diversification team at the SPU, which is managed by Mr. Fitz McLean, has been able to enter into arrangements with several small, medium and large (scale) farmers, most of (whom) are (of) Guyanese origin. Several of the large farmers come from the region and internationally, and work is ongoing in this field,” Heath-London said.He revealed that these foreign farmers hail from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and as far away as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. These farmers, he noted, are mostly interested in cultivating rice. To do this, however, sugar cane fields have to be converted into the swampy, semi aquatic conditions needed for rice to grow.“The predominant crop that these farmers want to put into production is rice. Presently, we have over a 1000 acres under rice cultivation, and those farmers who have successfully been given leases are presently doing land conversion to plant their crops,” he revealed.In December 2016, Wales became the first estate to be closed as part of Government’s drive to downsize the sugar industry. Other Estates closed were Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall, all of which were re-opened in order to be privatised.With the closure of Wales, more than 300 workers were dismissed and were either paid their severance or given employment at the Uitvlugt estate. However, workers had to head to court in order to get a ruling ordering GuySuCo to pay their severance.In March of last year, NICIL put on the market thousands of acres of land from Wales, as well as machinery from various estates. In a notice from NICIL’s SPU, it was indicated that bids were being sought for the purchase of lots One to 12 and lots 14 straight to 31 of Plantation Wales, West Bank Demerara.The land in question is situated along the eastern and western sides of the West Bank Demerara public road, and bidders can vie for as many of the lots on sale as they want. Noting that they are not bound to accept the highest or any particular bid, the unit warned in their notice that tenders must be received by March 16, 2018.GuySuCo, one of the largest landowners in Guyana, has for some time been bogged down by billions of dollars in debt. The current Government has been engaged in divesting the Corporation’s assets, putting the SPU in charge of this process and procuring international consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to valuate GuySuCo’s assets.In another notice, NICIL had also invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) from bidders desirous of purchasing scrap metal and equipment. The notice had made clear that bidders were only being sought to export the scrap metal and equipment from the Skeldon, Albion, Rose Hall, Blairmont, Enmore, Wales and Uitvlugt estates.Wales Sugar Estatelast_img read more