Heavy investments, innovative techniques to bolster Agri sector – Min. Mustapha

The Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali – led Administration continues to place emphasis on bolstering the nation’s productive sector, with a primary focus on agriculture.

The administration recognises the critical role agriculture plays in meeting the increasing demand for food in Guyana and the region.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha

And so, it is investing heavily in agricultural research, technology, and infrastructure, to improve the efficiency and productivity of farmers, as well as reduce the impact of climate change on the food sector.

“Our government is channelling our energy and resources to Guyanese in every area and is giving greater importance to our productive sector, especially agriculture in an effort to meet the current food demands in Guyana as well as the Region,” Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha has stated.

This is evident in his recent commitment to the introduction of shade house farming at Moblissa, along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway and Block 42, Region Ten.  

“I will ask NAREI [National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute] to build a small shade house nursery like what we are doing for the people along West Coast Berbice so that you can have your own planting materials,” the minister told residents during a recent visit.

The innovative farming technique helps to improve light diffusion, ventilation and decreases summer heat for plants.

Importantly, shade houses provide the best growing condition for plants and minimises irrigating and fertilising cost.

For example, President Ali’s introduction of the Agriculture Innovative and Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP) has confirmed the real benefit of smart agriculture. In just over a year the flagship initiative raked in more than $10 million.

“This is earnings for the youths for their production of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes, chilli peppers, celery, parsley, etc,” the agriculture minister stated.  

Meanwhile, the government has allocated another $200 million in this year’s budget, to increase production by 50 per cent and will see over 100 new young Agri-entrepreneurs benefitting.

“Our vision for the youths in Guyana aims at a direction of creating many opportunities for growth in employment and income. We are expecting that this will indeed be beneficial for youths, the agriculture sector and the economy as a whole,” the minister added.  

More so, all food and agriculture projects in the future will target 35 per cent youth involvement in the sector.

There were more than 100 shade houses established at the end of 2022, due to continuous provision of materials being made to farmers, as well as the distribution of farm equipment, seeds and seedlings, chemicals and fertilisers.

In addition to agricultural initiatives, the government is aggressively implementing other policies that promote economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development.

By doing so, the lives of Guyanese will be improved and Guyana will comfortably contribute to the growth and development of the wider Caribbean region.