(GUYANACHRONICLE)THE production capacity of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) will be further enhanced with the aid of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan.
An approximately US $22 million contract was signed Monday between the two groups at the DDL Bottling Plant, Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, said the transaction speaks to the IDB’s confidence in Guyana’s economy.
He commended the financial institution for responding to the government’s call for more involvement with the private sector.
“We have for a long time been advocating the IDB doing more for the private sector of Guyana,” he said.
The investment will potentially create a larger market for local farmers, and Guyana’s agricultural sector, as the demand for fresh fruits grows to expand the group’s Topco operations.
“This investment will also create a larger market for farmers who grow fruits. From that perspective, it fits perfectly within the 25 by 25 initiative that is being led by President Ali… the Caribbean initiative for promoting greater food security, for promoting agro-business and agro-processing, and primary agriculture production,” Minister Singh added.
He stated that Guyana has long produced fresh agricultural products, with deficient value-added food products.
The investment will see a new packaging line for juice products and milk, increasing the group’s capacity to produce value-added output.
Meanwhile, the Group Chairman, Komal Samaroo, said the investment would advance the group’s diversification agenda.
“With this project, we will contribute to strengthening national food security, and develop local knowledge and expertise,” the chairman added.
Further, the coming years will see greater investment in social amenities for the staff, with established plans for a medical centre and the intensification and expansion of training. DDL has been in production for over 300 years, distinguishing itself as a Guyanese staple. The ‘El Dorado’ brand, especially, has been established and is recognised internationally as one of calibre. (DPI)