Minister Mustapha, Chinese Charge d’ Affaires discusses areas for collaboration
The Chinese Government through its Embassy in Guyana, has once again signalled its commitment to assist the Government with its flood-relief efforts. This was disclosed by the Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, Chen Xilai during a meeting with Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha Friday.
During the meeting in the Minister’s office, discussions centered on several areas for collaboration in the sector. These include areas for technical cooperation in the rice and aquaculture sector as well as assistance for flood-affected farmers.
Minister Mustapha explained that the Government is currently working to resuscitate the sector and get affected farmers back to the land. He said the Ministry is looking at long-term systems to minimise the effects of climate change on the sector.
“With the recent flooding, our agriculture sector suffered a massive hit, both crops and livestock. Right now, the Government is working to give them some assistance to farmers so that they can get back to the land.
“In addition to the assistance that was recently announced by the President, from the Ministry’s standpoint, we are working to help farmers with things like seeds and other planting materials because those are the things that will also make an impact in terms of them swiftly returning to the lands. Moving forward, the Government, through the Ministry, will be working to develop more shade houses across the country given the impacts of climate change on the sector,” Minister Mustapha said.
Mr. Xilai said the Chinese Government, given its long-standing diplomatic relations with Guyana, was pleased to offer assistance to the Government and people during this time of need.
“We are pleased to provide help to the Government of Guyana. At the time when the President announced that there was a National Disaster, the Embassy provided a batch of much-needed supplies to the CDC and later on, we provided US $50,000. We know that agriculture is quite vulnerable and with the extreme weather conditions because of climate change, we have to prepare for those kinds of challenges.
“In terms of soya beans, China is the largest importer of soya beans. We are also a very large importer of peanuts. If we can encourage local farmers in Guyana to plant those commodities on a large scale, there’s an additional market over in China. From our end, we are happy to provide technical assistance and training for farmers and fishers. We can also look at providing assistance in other areas as part of your flood-relief efforts,” he said.
Minister Mustapha also informed the official that the Ministry is working to expand the country’s non-traditional and aquaculture sectors.
“We are also expanding into non-traditional and aquaculture sectors. Those sectors have great potential.
“We are also looking at corn and soya beans because we want to be self-sufficient. A pilot project is currently going on and we hope to move into large-scale production soon after,” Minister Mustapha disclosed.