SANTA FE FARM
Honorable Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips, Min. of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira, Min. of Housing and Water Collin Croal, Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond, Head of the Guyana Office for Investment Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, President of The Guyanese American Chamber Of Commerce, Directors of The Chamber, Other Distinguished Guests.
My participation in this significant forum is twofold. I am here as a Director of The Guyanese American Chamber Of Commerce and also as a Director of a Company with a significant investment in Agriculture in Guyana.
I, therefore, introduce you to The Santa Fe Farm, located in the North Rupununi.
The Santa Fe Farm – is an integrated farm that is a product of the Jagdeo Initiative for the development of farming in the Caribbean.
Today, Santa Fe Farm is one of the largest investments made in the Rupununi Region.
This project involved the use of land that was never before used for large-scale agriculture, and we have constructed buildings, bonds, dryers, silos, internal roads, and internal drains. We have also prepared in excess of 6,000 acres of land for the planting of rice. Since starting, we have exported in excess of 12,000 tons of paddy rice to Brazil under the partial scope agreement. Other agriculture crops being cultivated are cassava, sweet potatoes, corn, watermelon, and a variety of other cash crops.
The livestock comprises of cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, and poultry.
The Farm is also involved in Fish Farming, producing Tambaqui a popular and tasty fish in the region.
Presently the farm supplies produce to the domestic market with the goal to expand to Brazil and Caribbean countries.
Because of its best practices, the Farm is sometimes used as a training facility by the Ministry of Agriculture for farmers in the Region and also accommodates frequent visits from students of schools in the region.
We have created numerous jobs and opportunities for residents of Region 9, and for the first time in the history of Guyana, a company in this region has been able to pay rice export commissions to the Guyana Rice Development Board.
The Farm’s dryers and silos are an example of how we have changed the landscape of the Rupununi showing that this region can also be considered a significant agricultural area of Guyana.
We have faced some challenges with getting our products to market with issues of the road and bridges between the farm and Lethem, especially during the rainy season, but these challenges are being addressed by the Government of Guyana. Of course, the issues of COVID 19 have slowed down the progress somewhat, but we are not deterred.
Some years ago, we hired Consultants from King Ranch Institute (USA) to look at developing our cattle program and we imported Texas Long Horn and Bradford Bulls from the USA. We also imported Arabian Colts.
Today we have a cattle herd of about 500 and based on the study done by King Ranch, we intend to get to a much bigger and more significant herd, and be in a position to supply beef to all parts of Guyana and the Caribbean.
We look forward to the new abattoir being built in the region which will be of tremendous benefit to all of the cattle ranchers. We are also thankful for the unwavering support from the Region’s Veterinarian and his team.
We recently installed a state-of-the-art solar system in order to reduce our carbon footprint.
Located on the farm is the beautiful fully furnished Santa Fe Lodge with a scenic view of the Pakaraima mountain range. This lodge consists of two (2) bedrooms, two (2) bathrooms with walk-in showers and toilets, a living room/dining room/kitchen, and a verandah.
The amenities include bedroom and bathroom linen, a complete set of cooking and baking utensils, dinnerware, flatware, glassware, reliable wi-fi, and internet access.
In support of the country’s tourism drive, we have the Lodge, Benab, and grounds in a state of readiness to accommodate tourist to the Savannah, mountains, and those en route to Brazil.
The Santa Lodge can accommodate 8 persons.
The Benab can facilitate 6 hammocks and the compound as many as 10 “two persons” tents and in close proximity to toilet and bathroom facilities.
Select persons from our team have been trained to deliver the best in customer service.
There are lots of activities offered such as:
- Horseback riding – Three horse trails and accompanied by a vaquero.
- Birdwatching – Accompanied by an experienced tour guide.
- Shadowing farm workers – Accompany the farm workers as they carry out their daily tasks, including cattle roundup.
- Boating – Either in the river or in ponds and lakes.
- Fishing – In the river, lakes or ponds.
- Barbeque – Use our outdoor BBQ grill or have our staff prepare on the grill, pork, mutton, beef, fish and enjoy with our fresh farm vegetables.
- Games – Enjoy football, netball, darts, dominoes or cards.
- Tours – By road or river tour to an Amerindian village.
While on the Farm, you may be fortunate to see one of the giant anteaters.
Getting to Santa Fe Ranch
You can get to Santa Fe Farm by Air or Land. Traveling by air takes 60 to 90 minutes from the Eugene F Correia International Airport, Ogle, which is only 4 miles from Georgetown. There are regular flights to Lethem, which is 30 miles from Santa Fe Farm. Charter fights are also available. From the air you will be amazed by the expansive jungle, mountain ranges and savannahs.
Travelling by road takes 12 to 16 hours and takes you through the rain forest and Savannah including crossing the Essequibo river by pontoon. If you are lucky, you may see a Jaguar or other wild animals.
You will also have the opportunity to stop at a few Amerindian villages.
The workforce consist primarily of indigenous people from the surrounding villages. Our organization culture reflects a family environment, with emphasis on respect for other team members. We take the welfare of the team seriously by ensuring best practices in work, comfortable accommodation, healthy meals, and adequate recreational activities.
The Shareholders and Directors have confidence in Guyana’s future and their investment therein. I am happy to advise that we are in Guyana to stay, and look forward to continuing working closely with The Ministry of Agriculture in achieving its goal of food security and the Ministry of Tourism in its drive to enhance its tourism products and services and doing both in an environmentally responsible manner while being a good corporate citizen.