The Caribbean Agricultural Commercial Services Hub (CACSH) was established in 2016 as the commercial arm of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). Based in Trinidad and Tobago the company delivers agri-business solutions to the public and private sectors across the Caribbean. CACSH is registered in 4 CARICOM territories and is working to expand its presence. Among the major objectives of CACSH are the provision of technical and business advisory support services and the marketing selected agriculture inputs and commodities.
In high demand are the hot pepper seeds produced by CARDI – Moruga Red, Moruga Yellow, Scotch Bonnet and West Indies Red. According to CACSH’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Maurice Wilson, “The regional hot pepper industry is a lucrative one with demand for fresh and value added products rising. CARDI and CACSH are working together to meet the demand and capitalise on these opportunities.”
Ebini, located in the Upper Berbice River, has been earmarked for development as the ‘new agriculture frontier’ by the Government of Guyana. This is the site for the 5,000 acres Ebini Integrated Agribusiness Project, developed and managed by CACSH. The project is designed to demonstrate a commercially viable integrated food production system for a selected range of food and agricultural products.
Presently, a variety of annual and perennial crops identified in the Regional Plan to reduce food imports by 25% by 2025 are part of the Project’s production schedule. Emphasis has been placed on cultivating high valued crops such as coconuts, soursop, passion fruit and short term vegetables. Approximately 500 acres of land is under different stages of development.
The company has secured agreements with local agro processors to transform some of the fruits into juice blends and pulps etc. They have also identified markets for exotic fruits and vegetables in Canada, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. These commodities will be produced by CACSH and under a satellite farm system, sourced from farms in the Upper Berbice River.
CACSH is keen to demonstrate the value of vertical integration. “We need farmers and processors to re-orient their thinking away from just producing raw materials. They need to get into value added product development and enjoy greater revenue streams along the value chain while generating local employment,” concluded Wilson.
CACSH is also looking to introduce large scale corn and soybean production in Ebini using CARDI produced seeds and technological packages. This activity is closely aligned to the Government of Guyana’s goal of reducing the importation of corn and soybean for the manufacturing of animal feed by ramping up commercial production.
CACSH’s activities in Guyana and across the wider Caribbean are based on financial and environmental sustainability. The company’s aim is to attract investors to accelerate the development of the regional agriculture sector.