January 12, 2020 | mrhtxubs | No Comments
…as $4B injected into projectDemerara Distillers Limited (DDL) is expected to commission its Tropical Orchard Products Company’s (TOPCO) expanded plant by mid-2020. The project is designed to process and package increased volumes of existing products including cherry, passion fruit, carambola and guava juices as well as new ones including mango, pineapple, citrus and vegetable juices as well as produce pasteurised milk, initially from reconstituted milk and eventually from milk supplied by local dairy farmers.To meet its goal, some $4 million is expected to be injected into the expansion process by DDL. This was according to the company’s Executive Chairman, Komal Samaroo, as he is of the view that the agriculture sector must be developed to include value-added processing of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and milk.The main components of the expansion project are the installation of a one-ton per hour fruit processing line and a 1L Tetra Pak Juice and Milk packaging line.Last week, an update on the project’s progress was shared with representatives of several Government Ministries and agencies. Discussions also focused on the role all stakeholders must play to ensure the success of the project and the benefits to be accrued.This project is expected to benefit farmers through a guarantee that their supply of fruits to TOPCO is secure, with stability of prices in spite of market demand/supply conditions as well as the potential to increase their cultivation of target fruits (cherry, guava, passion fruit, and carambola) to increase supply to TOPCO as well as supply additional fruits and vegetables.This is in addition to the ability to collaborate with a network of technical and financial agriculture support agencies, as part of the holistic market-driven approach to developing partnerships with local fruits and dairy farmersThis week, a meeting with TOPCO and the Agriculture Ministry’s Planning Unit will be held to further advance the collaborative efforts of this project.In 2016, Government had stopped the contract with DDL to supply juice to the National School Feeding Programme. Instead, Caribbean International Distribution Inc (CIDI), a subsidiary of Rudisa Beverages Company of Suriname, was awarded the contract.However, DDL challenged the decision and in 2017 it won its protest after the Bid Protest Committee (BPC) ruled that the criteria as stipulated by the tender documents were not adhered to by the Evaluating Committee.