$25.4M earned for high-value crops in 2023

As the production of high-value crops continues to generate more employment and revenue aimed to fast-track Guyana’s growth, some $25.4 million was earned under the Agriculture Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP) as of December 2023. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, disclosed this during the ministry’s year-end press conference, on Saturday, December 30, 2023. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

The programme, which was launched in January 2022, has benefited young agriculturalists by stimulating considerable economic growth while ramping up the production of high-value crops. 

“We know for a fact that this was a very innovative project, where we formed a company and we have made these young people shareholders. To date, we have seen earnings of over $25 million from this project. These young people will receive the dividends from this project as shareholders. So, these are encouragement for young people to get involved in the agriculture sector,” Minister Mustapha said. 

The government will continue with the construction of shade houses and the cultivation of high-value crops in various parts of the country. 

Production of high-value crops at NAREI

A total of 90 new shade houses have been completed in 2023.  This brings it to a total of 365 shade houses since 2021. 

Over 70 per cent of the youths involved in the AIEP are now successful entrepreneurs. 

A wide variety of high-crops are being produced in the 54 shade houses at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), in Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara. 

These include lettuce, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, chilli peppers, kale, mint, celery, cilantro, parsley, among others.

Production of high-value crops at NAREI

Furthermore, more youths will benefit from this as President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, launched the US$4.5 million AIEP hydroponic programme at the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo in October 2023. 

More than 300 young people from Regions Two, Five, and Ten are expected to gain from the launching of the US$4.5 million AIEP hydroponic programme in October 2023, which will introduce them to cutting-edge cultivation, processing, and marketing technologies.

The agriculture minister expressed satisfaction with the number of young people who have been participating in this venture to enhance their livelihoods, over the last three years.  

Production of high-value crops at NAREI

He added, “These are projects that we are encouraging young people to come into agriculture… today, we are seeing hundreds of those young people who are now involved in agriculture for their livelihoods and that augurs well for us.”

Collaborating with the private sector, Victoria Greens Crops, and other partners, NAREI launched the first hydroponics project in Guyana, which is the largest in the Caribbean. 

Various crops are being grown there including pak-choi, and over 50 high-end herbs and spices that will be provided to the various restaurants and hotels in Guyana.