Government seeks private investors for Aripo Station

Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat today announced an ambitious plan to revamp local livestock farming through a number of public-private partnerships, beginning with a project to modernise the 1,176-acre Aripo Livestock Station where for more than a decade, production of meat, dairy and breeding stock has fallen to inconsequential levels amid surging imports.

The decision to explore private sector interest in developing a modern farm at Aripo follows a review of the physical and human resources devoted to local livestock production and the policy framework that governs the sector.

Among its findings, the review cited deficiencies in the technical capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and in the supply of breeding stock to support the sector’s expansion. It also pointed to aggressive free market conditions that saw livestock imports jump 210 percent over the past 20 years.

Public-private partnerships are a key driver of Minister Rambharat’s development plans precisely because they help to unlock the full potential of national assets like the Aripo Station.

“By joining forces with the private sector we can fast-track the rehabilitation of the livestock industry using innovative approaches, Rambharat said. “Private funds also mean accountability because investors want a return on their investment.”

The ministry formally invited expressions of interest in the Aripo project in a newspaper advertisement published Monday. According to the guidelines, government is seeking partners with the capital, technology and experience to transform the Aripo Livestock Station into a major source of affordable large-ruminant breeding stock—weaned heifers and bulls for the most part—for local farms.

By leveraging capital and innovation to enhance breeding stock supply at Aripo, small-scale farms could become competitive again.

The new operation is also expected to become a significant producer of milk and beef in line with environmental best practices.

The Aripo Livestock Station sits on approximately 1,176 acres of land including forest reserve, pastures, roadways, pens and paddocks. Home, at this time, to 202 dairy cattle, 40 beef cows, 128 water buffaloes and 88 sheep, it has the potential to be one of the country’s foremost livestock facilities.

Minister Rambharat expects the sheer magnitude of the site is enough to alert private sector investors to its commercial potential. Interested parties must deposit proposals in the ministry’s tender box at its Chaguanas head office by 2 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2018.

 

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