Gov’t accelerating roll out of Aquaculture Masterplan

– to create jobs, increase large-scale export
Minister Mustapha

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha says stakeholders in the aquaculture sector can look forward to a boost in the industry as the Government accelerates efforts to launch its Aquaculture Masterplan.

Minister Mustapha made these statements after a tour of the Grandeast Seafood Processing facility at Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara on Monday.

“We will build this industry into one that will have potential to not only create jobs, but to do large-scale exports in the Region and also other parts of the world, especially Asia. Places like these will be very important to purchase these shrimps and fishes from our farmers and fisherfolks,” he said.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha observes shrimp being processed at Grandeast Incorporated during his tour at the facility on Monday. Foreign Secretary, Mr. Robert Persaud is also pictured, second from left

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had announced in January that his Administration is formulating the Masterplan initiative, which he said would become part of Guyana’s agriculture diversification programme.

Once the Masterplan comes to fruition, it is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the sector.  Minister Mustapha said the Government is prepared to throw its full support behind these types of investments.

This year, the Government has allocated $293 million to support the growth of the industry.

“We will develop not only aquaculture, but other areas in the fishing industry. We will be working closely with various investors to keep the contact and ensure that we can support these kinds of investment in the future.”

The Minister also gave assurances that Guyana’s shrimp production would improve through realisation of the Masterplan. It is expected to move from 200,000 kilogrammes, to 500,000 kilogrammes annually.

The finished shrimp product ready for export to China

The Agriculture Minister has set out an action plan to meet fisherfolk to provide guidance and assistance in this regard. The most recent outreach was held in Region Six earlier this month in keeping with a directive from the President.

Additionally, Minister Mustapha announced that the Ministry would be expanding operations at the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station.  The Government would be facilitating feed-formulation research to reduce the cost of feed to below $200 per kilogramme to encourage greater investment.

A breeding programme for indigenous species is also being developed at the Aquaculture Station, where hatcheries will provide fingerlings at a subsidised cost to farmers. When the PPP/C took office in August, works started immediately to revamp the previously neglected fisheries industry. The Government also removed value-added taxes on fisheries input to complement these works and to stimulate investment and production.