DGC Live

Middle East Investors Expand Scope for Agriculture Investments

by David Garner - 12.11.2013

Middle East to Invest in Guyana Agriculture

Overseas investment in agriculture is an activity the Middle East have been undertaking for many years, in such places as Africa and the Philippines, primarily due to the distinct lack of rain fall in the Gulf region which impacts the viability of large scale commercial food production.

Another reason driving the need for overseas investment is the increase in population within the region, where local agriculture is simply incapable of meeting the demand.

The Middle East has now recognised a new market, which rivals the traditional African and Philippine markets; they now have their sights set on Guyana.

Guyana is situated in the gateway of, South America and the Caribbean, and is sandwiched between Suriname and Venezuela, all of which share boarders with Brazil.

Guyana’s agricultural potential is vast and a McKinsey study conducted in 2008 indicated that aquaculture, which is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish and crustaceans was valued at US$350-450million; forestry US$200-300million; fruit and vegetables US$250-350million and bio-ethanol US$500-600million.

Guyana is one of a few number of non-island Caribbean countries and already boasts an established industry in export. Existing export relationships with the USA and Canada account for 28.6% & 29% of annual exports respectively, and more local countries also buy produce; with Jamaica at 4.3%, Trinidad and Tobago at 4.3% of the country’s exports. Guyana also distributes produce further afield; exporting as far as the UK and the Netherlands.

75% of Guyana’s exports enter destination markets duty free, placing it in an incredibly good position as a trading partner.

Other benefits for considering agricultural projects in the country include the large spread of lands that have never been utilised for modern agriculture, meaning it can be certified organic within twelve months because it is completely free of all agricultural chemicals.

Guyana also boasts extremely fertile soils, especially around the coastal areas, which encourages huge development initiatives. There are vast amounts of grassland lending itself nicely to beef and mutton production as well as milk, fruit and other non-traditional crops. The country has also been certified foot and mouth disease free, an absolute gem should you wish to export meat products.

This alternative has been identified by The Ajeenkya D Y Patil Group, who has exemplary experience in agriculture, as well as education, healthcare and sports. They have signed an MoU with the Government of Guyana for 65,000 hectares of land in Canje Basin to be used for agricultural-related projects.

Written by David Garner

David is a Partner with leading UK based real estate investment consultancy DGC Asset Management Limited. Since 2001 David has advised Investors on a range of niche real estate acquisitions and developments in the agriculture and distressed asset space with a gross development value exceeding £100 million.