Having recognised the lucrative future of Guyana’s coconut industry, British businessman, Duncan Turnbull and his partners have invested in a 1000-acre estate in the Pomeroon River.
Turnbull aims to use technology to transform the Guyanese Coconut Industry. The company, Pomeroon Trading Inc., is currently rehabilitating the estate, which was leased from the Stoll family.
The company is planting 5000 trees every month and experimenting with innovative intercropping techniques. The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI)’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Oudho Homenauth was more than happy to welcome the investors to Guyana, since it will boost the coconut industry. Dr. Homenauth explained that NAREI has been promoting the local coconut industry and encouraging persons to invest in advanced operations.
A lot of promotional activities were done at the Coconut Festival held in October 2016. “I met with these guys when they just took over the Stoll estate from the family. The 1000 acres, which is very significant for the Pomeroon, was operating under capacity. It used to be flourishing, but with the decline of the industry years ago, it became semi-abandoned,” NAREI’s CEO said.
He indicated that Turnbull and his partners started in the right way.
“They are rehabilitating the current estate as well as doing some replanting. It’s an investment we welcome. I believe that they will help the estate reach its true potential.” NAREI will be assisting the company in selecting the planting materials that are more suitable for the Pomeroon area and providing training to its 30 workers.
“Our nursery at Charity will be supplying them with planting materials and partnering with them on pioneering new intercrops that, to date, have not achieved scale in Guyana. The company is looking at crops that will have market value both locally and internationally,” Dr. Homenauth said. “Pomeroon Trading Inc. seems to be very progressive and they have the necessary finances to do so and that is why we are going to be partnering with them,” NAREI’s CEO said. Meanwhile, the British businessman said that the company has secured sizeable investment from Europe to pour into the local industry. “We’ll be setting up a project to train more women to join the workforce and partnering with local schools on an education project.” Additionally, Turnbull said that the estate is building a coconut seedling nursery, which will produce a consistent supply of high-quality seedlings, thereby tackling one of the most severe challenges faced by the local coconut industry.
“Existing estates are often ageing and unproductive: without the right planting materials, the industry cannot revitalise,” Turnbull said. He argues that the global coconut industry is at a critical junction with a rising demand for the commodity due to increased awareness of its health benefits, and stagnant supply from the established exporters.