Agriculture youth innovative programme earns over $10M

– Minister Mustapha announces Saturday

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha has announced that the government’s Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP) has earned more than $10 million to date.

Shade house at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Mon Repos

The initiative was launched by President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali in January 2022, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).

The president said the flagship undertaking will stimulate and promote significant economic growth to the benefit of young agriculturists.

During an outreach at Black Bush Polder, Corentyne Saturday last, Minister Mustapha stressed the success of the innovative venture, and shared several plans for its expansion.

“The project already earned more than $10 million. On a monthly basis and a weekly basis these crops are being sold to the oil and gas industry, to the hotel chains in our country,” the minister said.

Shade house at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Mon Repos

More than 100 young graduates of the University of Guyana and the Guyana School of Agriculture are engaged in the shade house farming; growing crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and romaine and iceberg lettuce.

Initially, about 25 shade houses were to be established for the cultivation of three high value crops. However, the success of the programme prompted the government to invest further in the initiative.

By the end of 2022, 120 shade houses were constructed to support the production.

The administration aims to engage a further 100 new young agri entrepreneurs and increase the production of the crops by 50 per cent.

The ambitious goal will benefit young people by providing them with employment opportunities, and boost the country’s economy by increasing food security and exports of high-value crops.

The AIEP is a game-changer for Guyana’s agricultural sector, and it is expected to have a significant positive impact on the country in the short and long term.

The government’s commitment to investing in the programme is a clear indication that it is dedicated to revolutionising the agriculture sector and positioning Guyana as a major player in the global market.

“When you look at the agriculture sector the prospect is very bright, we must not have a tunnel vision and just concentrate on cash crop and rice production and believe that is all. We have to move on, consolidate, expand and diversify,” the agriculture minister told residents of Black Bush Polder during the outreach.

Looking to the future, the government has allocated $200 million in its 2023 budget for the expansion of the youth farming programme this year.