Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, and Minister of Public Telecommunication and Tourism, Cathy Hughes, today signed a key Co-operation Agreement to merge their many resources to develop agri-based tourism, a niche that is almost guaranteed to earn revenue for farmers and growers and other innovators in the services sector.
The purpose of the agreement signed today is to establish a framework for co-operation, dialogue and the teaming of expertise for all projects designed to advance agri-tourism. Both parties agreed to jointly organise events and execute development programmes in all regions of Guyana.
At the Colgrain House gathering, the Ministers, their permanent secretaries and key operatives were told about the numerous uses of coconuts and coconut trees, and the diverse products and by-products that could be derived. Raymond Trotz of Phoenix Enterprises said that there are currently 67 proven uses for the coconut tree and its fruits. These include edible oils, flour, sugar, vinegar, construction materials, animal feed, tonic and jewellery.
He surmised that Guyana could develop a sustainable coconut value chain when its people begin to realise the vast uses for coconuts that grow so easily in this country. A coconut value-added industry in Guyana would produce jewellery and ornaments from the shell; fiber for layering poultry and animal pens and weaving mats; leaves and trunks for decorative furniture; the coconut flesh for copra for edible and massage oils and additives to animal feed; and coconut milk for exotic Guyanese dishes and snack foods.
Mrs. Jemma Wenner, Associate Professor at Mexico State University, said that coconuts and the wide variety of uses have tremendous benefits for society and the economy. In fact, she has conceived and will lead the co-ordination of a Guyana Coconut Festival during Agriculture Month, October 2016. She is working in collaboration with the Tourism arm of the Ministry. The Agriculture Ministry is expected to play a key role in this upcoming festival that will take on a very interactive and competitive tone among the exhibitors, cooks, craft and jewellery designers, sculptors and harvesters.
The two Ministers also agreed to work closely with regional and international institutions, to share their markets and marketing platforms for the benefit of the people and products categorised under the agri-tourism umbrella.