Agriculture month is being celebrated under the theme “Transforming our food system, achieving food and nutrition security.” In his message to mark the occasion, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said his government is committed to transforming the agriculture sector over the next ten years through an inclusive approach.
The President noted that the government’s mission is to secure an expanded, diversified and modernized, resilient and competitive sector through the expansion of the production sector with investments in large-scale cultivation, including in soya and corn. He added that local agriculture will be made more resilient by the development of high-yielding, pest-resistant and climate-resilient crop varieties.
Further, Dr. Ali said modernization of the sector will involve the establishment of modern farms and increased use of technology along with more efficient farm practices. Diversification, he said will include promoting increased aquaculture and the cultivation of new crops.
Guyana is also pursuing an aggressive campaign to dismantle restrictive regional barriers to trade. The President said this will increase exports and foster growth in production.
He alluded to ongoing efforts to provide relief to farmers affected by the May-June rains and subsequent flooding. “Government is supporting the restoration of the agricultural sector, including its distribution of flood and recovery relief. We are also reversing some of the ills of the sector. In just over one year in government, we have also made progress in strengthening agricultural institutions, improving drainage and irrigation, providing incentives to boost production and diversification, conducting country-wide engagements with farmers and enhancing the business environment to drive agricultural growth,” he noted.
A group with Brazillian business partners conducted soil testing in Ituni to commence planting Soya.
The value of agricultural output amounts to 16.2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Along with forestry and fishing, it accounts for 12.2% of national employment and provides livelihoods for thousands of workers and their families.
The President stated that Guyana intends to become the agricultural heartland of the English-speaking Caribbean and play its part in helping the Caribbean Community reduce its food import bill by 25% by 2025, as the development of local agriculture is also pivotal to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).