Wednesday, July 6, 2022

SBM Offshore supporting ‘first of its kind’ aquaculture farm in Guyana

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SBM Offshore’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) approach to its activities continue to guide the company’s operations in Guyana as it remains resolute in the pursuit of sustainable development.  The company is leading a series of initiatives geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Quality Education; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Climate Action and Life Below Water.

In keeping with these objectives, SBM Offshore and Hubu Aqua Farms Incorporated signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for financial support in December 2021. Through the agreement, SBM Offshore is supporting the rearing of premium shrimps and prawns in Guyana, at the Hubu Aqua Farm. The farm is located in Hubu, East Bank Essequibo (EBE), and will be the first of its kind. It will be fully equipped with a hatchery, processing, and manufacturing facility.

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On April 5, a team from SBM Offshore comprising former General Manager, Francesco Prazzo; General Manager, Martin Cheong, and Sustainability and Social Impact Program Development Officer, Recardo Bovell visited the hatchery that is under development at Le Destin, EBE, and the location that is housing the farm at Hubu.

Mr. Cheong emphasised the company’s commitment to creating positive opportunities for both present and future generations.  He stressed that ‘local content’ is more than just a phrase for the company. “One of the things in selecting projects is that we really look for integration into the community and the supply chain. So, we’re looking at vertical and horizontal integration into the economy”.

Chief Executive officer of Hubu Aqua Farms, Sheik Rahman noted that the support received from SBM Offshore has fueled the realisation of a lifelong dream. Rahman expressed his gratitude, sharing that lack of support in the past made the venture impossible to rollout, until he approached SBM Offshore. “SBM Offshore was approached and after talking to them and showing them the potential of how it can benefit the country, we were able to get a grant from SBM Offshore which is what propelled this whole thing and made it all possible,” Mr. Rahman said.

The project will entail the operationalisation of a soon-to-be-complete hatchery that will utilise advanced technology for the facility’s management—including the sustainable use of recycled water and solar energy. The project will allow for quality brood stock to be provided to local aquafarmers who are being trained in rearing shrimp and prawn. Some 25 ‘grow-out’ ponds for rearing of crustaceans will be developed.

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This project is aligned with the United Nations SDGs that pursue good health and wellbeing (SDG Three), the provision of decent work and economic growth (SDG Eight), as well as industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG Nine). The Project will provide significant opportunities to develop sustainable work for local aquafarmers and strengthen the overall aquaculture sector. Hubu Aqua Farms will engage a network of local farmers and rural workers to promotes inclusivity in economic growth. It will also offer a reliable and high-quality product without seasonality.  Mr. Rahman stated. “We’re hoping that when there is a processing plant, it will employ a minimum of 100 people in the community—mostly women who are underprivileged and cannot get work.” Mr. Rahman opined that the farm will be historical for Guyana and expressed his gratitude to SBM Offshore for their proven dedication to sustainable development.

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Mr. Bovell, who plays a leading role in such projects, said the initiative is in tandem with the company’s goal of positively impacting local communities. “A lot of what we do, is to look at where SBM Offshore can make an impact in the communities, and this project ticks all of those boxes and will not only impact one farmer but will also provide opportunities for wider development within these communities as well as developing technical capabilities within the industry,” he said.

He noted that shrimp and prawns reared through the project will be used to supply the Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessels being operated by the company offshore.

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