By Shania Gonsalves
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – The government of Guyana continues to invest heavily in the agriculture sector, in areas like large-scale vegetable and livestock production, coconut, and drainage systems, all of which contribute to the country’s rapidly growing food production system.
Minister of agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P. said recently, that the vast land space in Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) is enough for the region to produce agricultural products to feed Caribbean countries.
“This region for us is a very important region that can be the food capital at CARICOM. With the potential and the vast land space almost 57, 000 square kilometers of savannah and with the rich potential of this area, it has the potential to feed the Caribbean,” he said.
It is against this backdrop, that local farmers and producers are now challenged to lead the agri-food production agenda in the Caribbean, to allow CARICOM countries to attain food security, and reduce the food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.
“And that is why our president, His Excellency has rolled out to the Caribbean community, the food strategy to reduce our food import bill by 25 percent in 2025, and the entire CARICOM has rallied around this call to reduce our import bill,” the agriculture minister noted.
Since the PPP/C Administration took office in 2020, the agriculture ministry has done tremendous work in developing this particular sector.
In 2021, $50 million was allocated to boost agricultural production. Since then, a committee was established to ensure maximum services are provided to agriculturists.
Meanwhile, in 2022 the sum of $4.1 billion was budgeted for upgrades and developments in Region Nine communities, paving the way for an enhanced education sector, improved health facilities and infrastructure. From that amount, $120 million was allocated to agriculture in the region.
More recently, $28.7 billion was set aside for further advancement in the agriculture food sector, allowing farmers across the country to expand their agricultural production.
Further, Guyana’s thriving agriculture sector is a major creator of wealth, job opportunities and food security in the country.