US Secretary of State hails Guyana as crucial partner in Caribbean food security efforts

The United States of America (USA) has a keen interest in continuing to work with Guyana to boost food security within the Caribbean region.

During a joint press engagement held at the State House in Georgetown on Thursday afternoon, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken told members of the media that food security in the Caribbean is a ‘critical priority’ for the US.

“We had the climate crisis, we had COVID, we’ve had conflict, including the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which formed an almost perfect storm, all contributing to the Caribbean’s highest food crisis in a generation.”

U.S Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

He, therefore, expressed gratitude to Guyana for its role in co-chairing the US High-Level Action Committee on Food Security, where the country is “leading efforts to expand small farmers’ access to technology, reducing barriers to trade, and reducing barriers to transportation”.

“We have provided about $28 million in emergency food assistance over the past year. We are investing in more resources in local capacity so that ultimately, countries across the region can build their own sustainable productive capacity. As the bread basket of the Caribbean, Guyana will continue to be a crucial part of this effort,” Blinken explained.

As the global community continues to grapple with food shortage, energy crises, and climate change, Guyana has positioned itself to become a world-class leader in these areas.

His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali and US Secretary of State, Mr. Antony Blinken

Upon entering office in 2020, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali laid out the government’s massive food security agenda, which included plans to restore Guyana to its former status as the bread basket of the Caribbean and contribute heavily to the reduction of the region’s US $5 billion food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.

Since then, a number of initiatives have been rolled out to increase food production in Guyana.

These included the expenditure of more than $700 million towards the importation of 1,000 black belly sheep to increase the supply of meat and other by-products, a massive increase in the production of corn and soya to make feed for livestock, an injection of over $977 million into the Guyana Livestock Development Agency (GLDA) to increase livestock production, the donation of piglets to farmers across the country, and recently, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to grow millets in Guyana.

These are only a handful of initiatives that illustrate the government’s efforts to boost food production in Guyana and the Caribbean.