A country less than 1 million population is all set to become a Food Superpower.
The country is smaller than the United Kingdom. In US, it’s equal to the state of Minnesota.
The nation is aiming to become a major exporter of food products to its neighbours and beyond.
The country is Guyana.
At an outreach in multiple areas of Region Ten, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha reassured farmers that they would still gain from the nation’s assets as the government strives to transform Guyana into a regional food superpower.
The Minister of Agriculture held a gathering with farmers to talk about strategies to improve the agricultural industry in the country. Also, to hear any challenges that the farmers and locals were facing.
The Minister stressed that the government wants to raise production and collaborate with other CARICOM countries to cut down food import costs. He suggested that Guyana is ready to become a food hub for the region. Also, farmers from all areas need to work together to make it happen.
#GUYANA: Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha has reassured farmers that they will continue to benefit from the country’s resources as the government works to make Guyana a regional food hub. pic.twitter.com/j0wpto4Fvg
— CaribbeanNewsNetwork (@caribbeannewsuk) February 22, 2023
Guyana has long been food importer. In 2021, President Dr. Irfaan Ali targeted to make Guyana self-sufficient. Now, the country is moving in the direction to fulfill the dream.
Additionally, he noted that the government will continue to make resources available to help make the agricultural sector stronger.
The farmers asked the minister for an update on their applications for land titles. The documentation is necessary to receive loans from the bank to expand their cultivation.
They acknowledged the government’s efforts in developing the sector. But they noted that titles must be issued from either the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) or the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
The farmers implored the minister for help with crucial agricultural items such as seeds, seedlings, tools, machinery, Black Giant chicks, and piglets so as to advance the poultry and swine industries.
At the meeting, 22-year-old Onifa Pantlitz, a student at the University of Guyana, expressed to the minister her interest in swine production, along with fellow youths in her community.
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Minister Mustapha was pleased to hear of her enthusiasm and the government’s initiatives to get young people into agriculture. He implored her to start a group and offered his help in getting them involved in the sector. Also, he mentioned an investor constructing a processing factory that will need a steady supply of pork.
Mustapha stated that the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has a Black Giant Chicken initiative aimed at disadvantaged groups. It is particularly aimed for single parents, with regards to poultry production.
At the gathering in Yarrowkabra, farmers from Circuitville expressed their desire to increase their production. Though, they reported that irrigation posed an obstacle. Minister Mustapha promised to help by sending a team of engineers from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to look for a water supply that could be used for irrigation once it is located.
Not only this, Mustapha in Region Six promised more such initiatives. Mustapha declared that two pumping stations will be built in Black Bush Polder in 2023, costing a total of $1.1 billion. The first will be used for irrigation and the second will be used for drainage. Further, $50 million was allocated for the upkeep of dams in the locality.
Basically, Guyana has everything covered. From being a food importer to become a food exporter to the region will be huge leap of faith.
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The small South American nation is well-positioned to become a food superpower for CARICOM. The country has a strong agricultural sector, access to international markets, and is taking steps to improve its food security.
With the right investments and approach, Guyana will be able to become a major exporter of food to the region. This development would create jobs, boost the economy, and help to ensure food security for the people of Guyana and the region.
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