Gov’t advancing efforts to make agro-processing viable

Government, through the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) has expended $158.5 million of the budgeted $293 million, to improve the viability of the local agro-processing industry.

One year in office, the PPP/C Administration has already accomplished most of the initiatives earmarked to successfully advance and expand the agro-processing sector.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, MP during his visit to the Parika Agro-processing facility

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, MP remains optimistic that the agro-processing facilities will function, both for commercial production, and product development for small and medium agro-processors.

He explained that this will allow consumers to have access to high quality, high value and innovative local products that are internationally competitive.

The Ministry of Finance’s Mid-Year Report for 2021 highlighted the competition of the one-stop agri-business incubator at the GMC. Already, agro-processors, especially small operators, are now having access to the required tools to generate product information for their produce to be placed on shelves in supermarkets.

The report pointed out that the processing facility at NAREI is expected to be completed and available for use by agro-processors by October 2021. By the third quarter, a seven-ton freezer truck and one 40-foot refrigerated container are expected to be available for use.

Additionally, almost 300 agro-processors and potential agro-processors benefitted from training in the fundamentals of agro-processing. The training exercise was facilitated through the partnership of the GMC and the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA).

Minister Mustapha said the new GMC will also focus on subsidising raw materials for agro-processors, including packaging materials and preservatives, which will allow agro-processors easier access and at the same time reduce their production costs.

“A robust marketing strategy will be developed to ensure that farmers and agro-processors are linked to the most lucrative markets, locally and internationally.

“This will also entail conducting extensive market research, participation in trade fairs and exhibitions and the use of e-marketing/e-commerce platforms through Public-Private Partnerships.”

He said emphasis will be placed on finding long-term market opportunities for agro-producers.

Accordingly, the Government is crafting strategies which will facilitate institutional buying by linking farmers and agro-processors with public and private institutions such as the hospitals, oil companies, hotels, restaurants and schools.