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Mr. Chairman, Toashao of Tapakuma Village, Region 2, Regional Chairman, OAS country representative, representatives of IICA- Guyana office, agriculturist of the Ministry of Agriculture, ladies and gentlemen a special Good Morning and welcome to this simple, but impacting event today.

 Today’s event is important not only in the sense that we are Re-commissioning this Cassava processing Plant here today; but also due to the potential impact such a factory can have in generating wealth at the village level by adding value through cassava processing.

Cassava remains a major calorie source as it is in fact, the third most important staple internationally after rice and corn. Research has shown that it is one of the leading staples across the developing world. It serves as an important food and cash crop, famine reserve, industrial raw material and livestock food.

Today’s event is a step in the right direction as the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from our development partner IICA, will be pushing ahead with our work program of further expanding the local cassava industry.  By resuscitating the cassava industry we will be working to improve the social and economic welfare of Tapacooma Village.

Our Government is cognizant of the fact that there remain a number of constraints which need to be adequately addressed if we are to move the industry from a subsistence level to an actual industry. One such constraint remains the lack of markets and the necessary tools for value added production.

The goal of the Ministry of Agriculture is to support the production of cassava to meet increasing demands outside of its traditional users. Increasingly, cassava products- namely farine, cassareep and cassava bread are becoming important parts of the Guyana market.  The re-commissioning of this factory will see villagers meeting an increasing demand for such products.

IICA’s Country Representative alluded earlier to the study which was completed between the years 2005-2009, which pointed to the untapped potential which lies in cassava production.Today’s event in a step in the right direction, to ensure that cassava reaches its rightful place in the world market.  In 2014, the village benefited from this $3.378M refurbished facility through partnership with IFAD, IICA and the village council.

Today is just the beginning. With commitment and dedication we can put this village of Tapacooma on the world map as being a major supplier of cassava and its by-products.

Ladies and gentleman together we can ensure that the lackluster approach to cassava production becomes a thing of the past.

I thank you

NLH

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