Guyana’s food production defies dry season challenges

Despite the extended dry season, Guyana’s agricultural food production has not only weathered the storm but is thriving thanks to a proactive government and resilient farmers.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, recently reaffirmed this during a media briefing, stating that comprehensive and sustainable policies have been the key to success.

These policies focus on boosting food productivity through a range of initiatives such as building and upgrading drainage systems, distributing farming inputs and equipment, expanding access to farmlands, increasing freshwater availability and providing technical assistance.

One of the shade houses at NAREI

Beyond these direct interventions, the government has also established farmers’ markets across the country. These markets provide a platform for farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers, cutting out middlemen and ensuring fairer prices for both farmers and shoppers.

The agriculture minister pointed out, “It has an effect on us because we have seen the prices for vegetables and fruits have gone up rapidly in various parts of the country.

“But we have seen in terms of production, I foresee at the end of the year, we will reach our targets. And that is very important for us. We have done a lot of modifications…We have moved pumps, cleared canals, rehab canals, and other works in the agriculture sector in this country. That is why we have seen that production has not dropped. Our exports would not drop. That is why I am optimistic, at the end of this year, we will reach the targets in the agriculture sector.”

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

Minister Mustapha also highlighted the surge in aquaculture production, particularly in brackish water shrimp. This progress is further fueled by a $100 million investment in ten prawn ponds at Onverwagt, Region Five.

Within a mere three months, fresh prawns from Onverwagt can be expected, marking a new chapter in the nation’s seafood journey.

Further, farmers in Region Five will benefit from the development of 20,000 acres of new lands for cultivation in the Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary (MMA) scheme, as the government is working to support farmers while advancing agriculture.

Harvesting of carrots

Guyana is actively diversifying its agricultural landscape by venturing into the cultivation of new crops on top of established successes like corn, soya, and now millet in Tacama.

To modernise high-value production, Guyana boasts one of the largest hydroponics farms at Mon Repos, and the future looks brighter with three more farms already in the works, spanning Regions Two, Five, and Ten.

“You will see the entire agriculture being modernised. We are making it more modern and effective. And I think we will have better production to come…We are seeing a revolution in the agriculture sector in Guyana. This is leading us directly into the Caribbean where we are in demand. Guyana is helping them to reorganise and resuscitate the agricultural sector within those countries,” the agriculture minister added.