March 3, 2017: Referencing ‘an important by-product for use in agriculture’, Senator Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries noted to members of the media that ‘in Trinidad and Tobago we suffer with poor quality soil [so] farmers invest a lot of money to purchase lime to increase the yields and the productivity of the soils; and Grand Bay Paper Products is considering the use of a calcium carbonate byproduct of the paper manufacturing process on agricultural lands’. The paper sludge can boost soil productivity for farmers; provide benefits as a fertilizer, using the inherent fibres made of cellulose, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Its moisture retention capability can also be another benefit.
The Agriculture Minister was speaking while on tour of the plant of Grand Bay Paper Products Limited on Friday 3rd March, 2017. He shared that at the Ministry, ‘we feel that it is viable and we are moving to the stage of testing and to determine whether it will work and moreso if it meets all the environmental criteria in terms of environmental quality and the way it will interact with the water table and water courses’. Further stating that it is a ‘good opportunity for the farmers’ and makes an excellent case for recycling.
The purpose of the visit was both to view the success of Grand Bay Paper Products in manufacturing, exports and waste recycling; and for the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries to finalize discussions on pilot farm trials of the calcium carbonate (lime) byproduct on agricultural lands, to boost soil productivity. With mounds of local newspapers in storage, forming part of the recycling program at Grand Bay Paper Products, the Agriculture Minister also stated that we ‘saw today how paper can be used and re-used’.
Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry noted that the team was ‘very pleased to be here’, commending the Company’s Executive for their ‘great efforts in market penetration’, noting that ‘the signs are good for the future’. ‘Grand Bay is really a success story for Trinidad and Tobago, [with] state of the art operations and a highly competitive business’ were the Agriculture Minister’s closing statement.
‘We are proud that we are creating and pioneering an industry in Trinidad, as we continue to invest and grow and prosper in this business’ said Mr. Kevin Marcilliat, Managing Director and CEO at Grand Bay Paper Products.
The visit included a tour of the Plant and a presentation by the Executive Team on the operations of the business. Also on tour were Mr. Norris Herbert, Permanent Secretary (Ag.); Mr. John Tang Yian, Chairman, EXIMBank; Mr. Brian Awang, CEO, EXIMBank; and Grand Bay officials.
Grand Bay Paper Products Limited’s vision is ‘to become the leaders in manufacturing, marketing and service with the highest quality products’ and currently operates in 25 markets with 400 members of staff. Studies have shown that use of sludge in agriculture is beneficial. Some uses include cattle bedding, filler material in fertilizer and fertilizers.