Agri-Ministry pushing for food safety

DPI, Guyana, Monday, September 30, 2019

 The Ministry of Agriculture has set its sights on accelerating its efforts to achieve growth in 2020 and beyond said Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder.

“It is our responsibility to feed our nation while being a food-secure nation. Guyana is blessed with all the resources necessary to achieve food and nutrition security as we aspire to become a green economy, Guyana has immense potential to ensure the sustainable use of national resources for food production.”

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder.

The Agriculture Minister was at the time making remarks during the ministry’s annual Interfaith Service to officially launch Agriculture Month.

With a central role in the government’s green economic agenda, Minister Holder said his ministry is working to achieve the goal of eradicating hunger. This is in keeping with UN SDG number 12 which speaks to Responsible consumption and production.

Drawing attention to the fact that the world is facing the negative effects of climate change and biodiversity loss, Minister Holder underscored the need for steps to be implemented to protect one of the country’s main economic earners.

“This is a systematic issue, it is not for Guyana only, it is international; the requirements for food security gets higher each year especially in international trade. This is the time to invest in sanitary processes and equipment and as a government we are focused on the oversight required to regulate the food ecosystem,” he added.

In May 2019, the National Assembly passed the Food Safety Bill which will pave the way for the integration of all aspects of the country’s food safety system and create a food safety. The Agriculture Minister said it is expected that with the bill, the establishment of a Food Safety Authority will assist in the ministry’s efforts to manage food safety.

“The Food Safety Authority will play a pivotal role in developing policies and a regulatory framework and establishing and implementing effective food safety systems that ensure food producers and suppliers along the whole food chain operate responsibly and supply safe food to consumers,” he noted.

According to Minister Holder, the authority will be responsible for ensuring all agricultural produce, whether produced locally or imported, that is destined for human consumption, are of the highest quality and are produced under the strictest of hygienic conditions and are not capable of causing harm to the consumer.

With these systems in place, the minister said that work will need to be done as a collective, “one nation that cares about sustainable production, safe food and healthy diets.”

Some of the attendees at the Ministry of Agriculture’s interfaith service.

Also present at the service was Minister within Ministry of Agriculture, with the responsibility of Rural Affairs, Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood, His Worship the Mayor of Georgetown, Pandit Ubraj Narine and several other officials from agencies that fall under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture.

On September 27, the ministry unveiled its calendar of events for Agriculture Month 2019 to be held under the theme “Sustaining Agriculture for ensuring Food Safety and a Green Economy”.