Govt proposes $293M budget for fisheries, aquaculture industry

The emerging Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry will see significant growth with the $293 million provision the Government has proposed in its 2021 National Budget.

Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance announced the measure in the National Assembly on Friday.

Currently, the cost of production for aquaculture products is greatly impacted by the cost of feed, which accounts for some 60-70 per cent of overall production cost.  

However, with 2021 plans streamlined, the Government will be facilitating feed-formulation research with the aim of reducing the cost of feed to below $200 per kilogramme, in an effort to encourage increased investment and productivity.

Further, the Finance Minister said the Government is keen to revitalise the fishing industry and has reversed increases in licensing fees, removed taxes on fishing equipment, and allowed fish exporters to reclaim value-added tax on inputs to production.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha looks on as a fish vendor prepares his catch for the market

“Over the medium-term, Government will focus on supporting the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture through amendments to the Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries Regulations, finalise a Strategic Plan for the subsector, and develop guidelines for sustainable aquaculture and ornamental industry in Guyana, among other initiatives.”

Meanwhile,Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha says he wants the industry to make a significant contribution to the nation’s output. In order to achieve this, the Government has made great investments in the industry to date.

“Aquaculture has the potential to bring in a lot of revenues and many Caribbean countries and even North America and other places, need these kinds of fishes. So, I will encourage and continue to promote aquaculture,” he told DPI.

The Ministry will establish a database to update farmers on its plans and programmes for the sub-sector.

A breeding programme for indigenous species is also being developed at the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station, where hatcheries will provide fingerlings at a subsidised cost to farmers. In 2020, research was conducted on several species of fish including the arapaima, patwa, tambaqui and the Nile tilapia. Additionally, the Ministry is continuing its efforts to realise the reversal of the US ban on catfish.

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