20th Regular Meeting of IABA Held

― Min. Holder represents Guyana during panel discussion

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 4, 2019

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder attended the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of The Americas’ 20th Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA). The meeting was held in San Jose, Costa Rica from October 29 to November 1, 2019.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder, addressing the Conference of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas.

The Agriculture Minister was invited to the conference as one of three panellists to address the conference in three main areas. These areas are “Opportunities for rural inclusion in the digital era”, “Toward a new balance between productivity and sustainability” and “Health, Safety and quality for the future of trade”.

In his presentation to the conference, Minister Holder highlighted the importance of improved agricultural productivity.

“Improvements in agricultural productivity growth are required to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fibres, and must be achieved sustainably through more efficient use of natural and human resources.”

The Agriculture Minister addressed the conference on the topic of “Toward a new balance between productivity and sustainability.” In his presentation, he highlighted several actions that could be taken to promote better use of opportunities to achieve this balance.

“Investing in Research and Development, to address the major environmental problems associated with agriculture, like soil erosion, pesticide pollution, deforestation and genetic erosion, or other processes linked to the overexploitation of natural resources, Good Agriculture Practices such as Integrated Pest Management, Breed Development Programmes – selecting best breeds for multiplication in our livestock development efforts. Increase in productivity through the breeding programme is very cost-effective and is sustainable.”

Other opportunities include Economic Incentives and Disincentives for beneficial support to the environment. Revenue collection through a tax on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Groundwater abstraction charges.

The minister’s presentation also shed light on some of the challenges that could be faced in trying to achieve this sustainability. Some of these challenges include low innovation due to knowledge gaps, a weak regulatory and enforcement capacity, and most importantly, financing.

“Financial barriers exist both for public (regulators) and private (practitioners) within the agriculture sector, which must be overcome to maximize productivity and sustainability. Due to budgetary constraints, the high cost of new technologies and promotional/educational training programmes aimed at bioeconomic strategies and alternative production systems for balancing sustainability and productivity of resources is often delayed.”

As Guyana and the world as a whole continue to move towards more sustainable agriculture, more and more policies and conferences and research are being conducted to find more ways to improve productivity to be able to meet the demands of a growing population.