Prime Minister lauds Novo Farms’ innovation


Chairman of NOVO farms Glen Ramdhanie talks with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at their Point Lisas business park base ahead of a MOU signing between NOVO and the government of Guyana. Photo by Lincoln Holder

THE Prime Minister has praised Novo Farms for its innovations in food technology that can now produce instant food by just adding hot water.

“What this business is, is a godsend for farmers,” Dr Rowley told Newsday after attending the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Novo Farms and the Guyana Office of Investment in Couva on Thursday.

Using cutting-edge technology, Rowley said, the company has opened endless possibilities for Trinidad and Tobago and the region and its products would be considered for the school feeding program and hospital patients.

Novo’s chairman Glen Ramdhani and Dr Peter R Ramsaroop, MBA, chief, investment, Office of the President and Government of Guyana, signed the MOU. The signing was witnessed by the ministers of agriculture of Trinidad and Tobago, Kazim Hosein, and of Guyana, Zulifkar Mustapha.

The PM was among a contingent from Guyana, TT and Suriname who earlier visited energy companies on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.

He commented that a lot of the food farmers produce, “If not bought and certainly consumed in short order, most times it spoils.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley with Senator Kazim Hosein and Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Avinash Singh at a MOU signing ceremony between NOVO farms and the government of Guyana at their Point Lisas plant. Photo by Lincoln Holder

“Because it is not stable in terms of price and volume and so on, there is a lot of wastage, fluctuation of prices – more frustration if you have a crop and nobody’s buying it from you.”

Rowley said in such circumstances, what Novo does is to take these staples and convert them instantly so that they have a longer shelf life.

Using the latest technology, the fresh produce is vacuum-packed to make instant food.

“So you have dried food, you add warm water to it and it reconstitutes into fresh food.”

Novo has produced a range of products from cassava and sweet potato pasta, ready-to-cook vegetables, ground provision fries and flour, cubed carrots, pumpkin, grated coconuts, coleslaw mix, frozen ochre, callaloo, dhal, baigan and tomato choka.

He explained all the process does is temporarily extract the water.

“So when you add the water back, your baigan choka is fresh, your tomato choka is fresh, your sweet-potato flour is fresh.

“What that does, it allows the farmers to sell their produce to a facility like this and there is packaged food without any additive, that is available on the market.”

Rowley, said he was looking forward to fries made from ground provisions, including locally produced potatoes, replacing white potatoes.

“I am looking forward to you ladies making a bake using some local flour, or at least putting some local flour into it, and then you make some fresh baigan choka, just adding hot water. It smells and tastes and looks just like the fresh product, because it is pre-cooked and them frozen. There are endless possibilities.”

Glen Ramdhani, Chairman of NOVO farms at the Point Lisas business park, signs an MOU with Chief investment officer at the office of the President and government of Guyana, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, while Minister of Agriculture of Trinidad and Tobago, Kazim Hosein and minister of Agriculture of Guyana Zulfikar Mustapha, during the signing ceremony between NOVO farms and the government of Guyana. Photo by Lincoln Holder

Rowley said the idea is to change the taste buds of locals who have acquired a taste for more foreign foods, and this can be done by exposure to the products.

“I tell you, try the stuff and you would see for yourself what this cutting-edge, space-age technology is doing to our local food production.”

He said this must be accompanied by the proper investment or else it would not happen.

Ramdhani told Newsday the pandemic caused a setback to the products but since they were launched, there has been nothing but success.

“We are doing very well in the market.

“The cost of the products ranges from between $20 to $25. A callaloo or dhal pack can be used as a soup by an individual, but if eaten with rice, can feed up to four persons, just by adding hot water.

“Because we, a technology company, just by adding innovation into agro-processing and into farming, we are bringing that transformational change that is required in the market.”

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