Gov’t will continue to invest heavily in agriculture – Min. Mustapha
The PPP/C Administration remains committed to the development of agriculture production and ensuring food security.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha highlighted that grassroot farmers will receive assistance to boost output and productivity.
The government has revitalised the industry with significant investments over the last two years, while also initiating new programmes to engage more youths in agricultural production.
The president’s shade house initiative, which was introduced in January and focuses on the younger demographic, is one such effort.
Some 275 shade houses that will be built as part of the initiative under the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme (AEIP) will be spread across the nation.
“The Israeli people already, they now have more investors coming in to increase the shade house that we start at Mon Repos and to start the hydroponics at Mon Repos very shortly,” Minister Mustapha noted.
The PPC/C Administration, led by President Dr Irfaan Ali, has been leading the Caribbean in its food security efforts to lower the high food import bill in the region and to ensure food security.
“The investment will be in what the government wants (due to the implementation of the shade houses to produce high-value crops). Those crops that we have prioritised in the ministerial task force and those crops that will reduce the food import bill that normally, we spend a lot of money on. So, those are the crops that they’re planning on, things like the high-value crops, things like lettuce, and other crops that we want,” he added.
Minister Mustapha underscored that “some of them (the farmers) want to go into crop and soya. But now, we are having those discussions- but the high-value crops like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, and those things. And those are the high-value crops that cost a lot of money for us to import. Because last year we would have imported $2.6 billion in those high-value crops. So, they are falling in line with the government’s programmes and agenda.”
He said the government will continue funding all aspects of the agricultural industry while working to implement innovative measures to drive sustainable production.
The government spent $15.8 billion of the $32.6 billion allocated for agriculture during the first half of 2022 to improve cultivation and output to lower imports, boost exports, and promote diversification.
This is part of Guyana’s commitment to contribute to reducing CARICOM’S food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
Agriculture Month is being observed under the theme ‘Championing Food Security Through Innovation, Investment, and Resilience.’