Improved livelihood for rural farmers – Min. Mustapha
The Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to improve the livelihood of farmers in rural communities and will continue to work with the public, private and international organisations to implement programmes that will increase agriculture productivity and income for farmers.
Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha said one key component to strengthen the rural sustainable development is to invest in agriculture mechanisation, innovation, infrastructure and technical assistance.
These assertions were made during a virtual presentation at the second sitting of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 36th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We must work together to ensuring that they are sustainable Agriculture policies and measures that contribute to the poverty reduction in our rural communities. Therefore, improving farmers livelihood in rural areas and diversifying rural economies through the enhanced competitiveness of the Agriculture sector is a priority of the Ministry of Agriculture.”
The Minister said Government welcomes increased investment through enhanced international cooperation, specifically the FAO.
“Some of the measures we have begun are the creating an enabling business environment for the private sector by reducing burdensome taxes and other budgetary support. Additionally, we are strengthening our alliances with the private sector and have started internally to have open dialogue. With the FAO’s support, we intend to widen this to the Caribbean and Latin American countries to supply exportable products to your countries,” Minister Mustapha disclosed.
Though Guyana will benefit tremendously from the emerging oil sector, “the availability of this revenue presents a challenge to the traditional agriculture sector, as it is likely to influence Guyana’s labour supply, wages and exchange rate, which could impact the competitiveness of the tradeable sectors such as rice and sugar in Guyana’s overall economy,” Minister Mustapha explained.
As a result, he said, Government will be developing better functioning institutions, training the labour force, and diversifying the agriculture-based economy.
The Minister also said the PPP/C Government is committed to reducing poverty in Guyana. One such way, he stated, is the reopening of the sugar industry, returning jobs to the 7,000 Guyanese who were affected when the former APNU+AFC Government stopped operating the mills.
The seminar continues on Wednesday when Guyana’s delegation will present again.