Local dairy industry being assessed
–high import bill to be tackled
Guyana’s high import bill for dairy and dairy products has prompted an assessment aimed at reducing that bill.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is working with the Ministry of Agriculture on the study which is already underway.
“With funding from the IDB we are working with the GLDA and the Ministry of Agriculture to do a complete assessment on the entire value chain; it’s going to be comprehensive and this is in all the regions except Region Nine,” IICA Resident Representative, Mr. Wilmot Garnett, told DPI Friday.
“The idea is that there are a lot of farmers that would like to expand in the industry as well as investors; local and foreign investors that see dairy and dairy products as very important to the economy of Guyana and the region,” Mr. Garnett said.
He added that the assessment is essential and would be used as a management tool regarding future decisions taken by the Ministry of Agriculture, for the dairy industry.
The assement is expected to be completed by July, after which recommendations will be made on the way forward for the industry.
“It’s a tool that will help the government to know where to focus. The private sector has expressed interest; they have made that very clear and those that exist in the dairy sector, in the beef sector, they can say okay, we can make some adjustments,” Mr. Garnett said.
The IICA official added that there have been challenges in the industry over the years “whether it’s genetics, whether it’s pasture, whether it’s the pasteurization, the collection and so on the milk and the milk products.”
Mr. Garnett noted that resulting from the assessments will be recommendations on how best to manage herds. He said these recommendations can be additional projects that IICA as well as other partners could help the Government implement.
“We have to work with our kids to remind them the importance of milk, dairy and dairy product. One recommendation, I’m certain would be for the dairy and dairy products produced locally to enter into the school feeding programme, for example, we also have the Joint Services and we also have the medical facilities, the hospitals that can utilise,” he suggested.
Agriculture Minister Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha in a recent interview said more lands would soon be made available for the livestock industry.
He also stated that the Guyana Livestock Development Authority is working with farmers to improve capacity and improve training, while a new board of directors was appointed with a mandate to improve the sector.