CARICOM agro-market could produce multi-millionaires – Antigua & Barbuda PM
The potential for large-scale agriculture production to supply Caribbean countries exist in Guyana and neighbouring Brazil, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Hon. Gaston Browne said if producers in the two countries could control 10 percent of the CARICOM market, then trade alone could allow them to become multi-millionaires.
Brazilian investors from the State of Roraima have shown interest in integrating into CARICOM’s vision of reducing the Caribbean’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025. As such, CARICOM has committed to ensuring it is represented on the region’s Agriculture Ministerial Task Force.
The Antiguan leader was delivering remarks in Santa Fe farm, North Rupununi, during an official visit by His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and a number of CARICOM Heads, on Saturday.
With the importation cost of agricultural goods increasing to approximately US$10 billion annually, Caribbean countries have now taken action under President Ali’s initiative which seeks to reduce the import bill by 25 percent by 2025.
To this end, Guyana has committed to advancing its role in producing sufficient agricultural products for both local and export purposes. This year alone, government has allocated over $28.7 billion to advance the agriculture food sector.
Prime Minister Browne reiterated that many opportunities could be “exploited” to ensure safe, affordable and quality production of goods, as well as improve transportation of products across the region.
He said, “what we recognise is a fundamental problem that we do not have adequate transportation, so the focus now within CARICOM is to establish the transportation links so that we can move goods readily.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing war in Ukraine, escalating price on goods and services is putting pressure on citizens’ pockets, while affordable marketing is becoming an even bigger issue across the Caribbean.
“One of the key issues affecting us too, is the issue of escalating prices, so we need an urgent solution to that problem and it’s obvious that here in Guyana and certainly in Roraima that you can provide us with foods, good quality nutritious foods at a cheaper price, and by so doing you will help us to drive down the cost of living in our respective countries,” MP Browne noted.
The PM believes that investment opportunities between CARICOM and Roraima will set the platform for deeper collaboration in the area of technical cooperation and establishing strong trade links.