$50M to boost agriculture in Region Nine

– Commerce chamber, RDC urged to take the lead

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha has said the Government will invest some $50 million in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) to boost agriculture there.

He made this statement during his engagements with members of the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and officials of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) during a recent outreach to the district.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha

The Minister said Region Nine has the potential to make significant contributions to Guyana’s evolving agriculture sector. Its advantage over other areas, he said, is the availability of vast lands for farming investments.

“We don’t want 50 acres and 25 acres. The Ministry is pushing for large-scale farming and we will be assisting with incentives, technical advice and other things that are necessary to help you along this path.

We want a thriving agriculture sector that would create wealth. We want a sector that would create job opportunities, and most importantly, we want an agriculture sector to create food security.”

Minister Mustapha said a committee will be established to ensure maximum services are provided to agriculturists. Members will include all regional extension officers and representatives of the various local organs. Already, he has instructed the RDC to spearhead the Region’s agriculture operations.

The Minister said he supports timely resolutions, as the traditional process of writing and awaiting responses from the Ministry’s head office could cause some delays. The Government’s focus is to ensure Guyana realises its potential as the breadbasket of the Caribbean.

Further, Minister Mustapha relayed that CARICOM is spending close to US$60 billion to source agriculture produce outside the Region. He said Guyana can make good use of its free trade agreement with CARICOM and sell its produce to benefit.

“That is where these agro-processing facilities come in, which will help farmers to develop their produce, to package their produce, and also to find markets for their produce. These are things we will be working on,” the Minister added.

He commended President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s vision for Guyana to produce its own feed for the poultry industry, and urged residents to capitalise on the measures the Ministry is offering to advance corn and soyabean cultivation.  Some $500 million has been allocated in Budget 2021 for this venture.