Gov’t committed to boosting agriculture in Wakenaam

Dr Ramsaroop leads outreach to the island

Food production on the island of Wakenaam, Region Three will soon be boosted as government is taking several steps to make it a reality.

Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) Chief Investment Officer Dr Peter Ramsaroop led a team to the Essequibo Island on Saturday. Dr. Ramsaroop outlined how further development of this industry can benefit the island.

The development of a large plantain industry and tapping into the value-added market by exploring dehydrated processing are some of the areas being discussed.

The island which is agriculturally based is known for crops such as plantains, rice and cash crops, as well as poultry and cattle.

Residents were told they should consider tapping into the Barbadian market by producing value added products from coconuts that can be directly supplied to the food terminal in Barbados.

During the meeting with residents, it was relayed that GO-Invest stands ready to lend assistance with the development of business plans, the creation of joint ventures and investment prospectus.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali during an outreach to Wakenaam in August said the investment government is making on the island will bolster Guyana’s food production capacity.

During his outreach, President Ali commissioned a $50 million well to provide 24-hour access to potable water. In the near future, a US$6.3 million water treatment will be constructed on the island.

It was also disclosed that government will soon install a $460 million 750-kilowatt solar-powered system.

A constant water supply is important for agriculture and if farmers are going to venture into value added products, cheap and reliable energy will play a major role.

The investment by government forms part of its macro plan to develop the island with the necessary infrastructure that will lead to increased food production, the president had stated.

Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture earlier this year had committed to the development of a root crops industry in Wakenaam and surrounding communities to supply to a ready market. Root crops include turmeric, ginger, cassava, sweet potatoes, and eddoes.

The focus on development of agriculture in all corners of Guyana is part of a larger vision of reducing CARICOM’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.