(Ministry of Agriculture, June 24, 2016) – Agriculture Minister Noel Holder today returned from a high-level meeting in Peru which was aimed at strengthening relations on Food and Nutrition Security in members state countries.
During his address, Minister Holder spoke of some of the key binding constraints which need to be addressed at the regional and international levels, if countries are to be food secure.
“Guyana recognises a large section of the population depends on agriculture for food and income, this has led to the government continuously increasing investments in agriculture, expanding safety nets and social assistance programmes and enhancing job creating activities for both rural and urban citizens,” he said.
Minister Holder noted that there was a food, fuel and finance crisis in 2007-2008 which lead to an economic downturn in 2009 and by 2001 there were high food prices. Those factors, according to the Agriculture Minister, combined to drive 44 million people into poverty and as such, it is imperative countries examine food security interventions worldwide.
Food & Nutrition Security Policy
The Ministry of Agriculture has been spearheading the food, nutrition and security strategy which was officially launched in October 2011. The main objectives of this strategy are to help ensure immediate access to food in emergency contexts; rebuild and enhance resilience to withstand shocks; support longer term development initiatives for hunger and poverty reduction; improve the sharing of information on food security and nutrition policies and programmes undertaken by national and regional stakeholders by reviewing them, and promote rural development.
The Strategy also provides a more comprehensive long-term plan covering the implementation period 2010 – 2020. As such, the above objectives are expected to be achieved through the following strategic components: Food security at the household, community and national levels, prioritisation of the most vulnerable, community participation, family nutrition, evidence-based planning, a coordinated multi-sectoral approach, legislative and regulatory environment, extending the country’s agricultural base to include, in a comprehensive way and as a matter of urgency, the hinterland savannah areas.
The Government of Guyana, through its various line ministries continue to inject large sums annually, making provision for financial support for improving and sustaining of the food and nutrition drive in the country.
The main agencies which have direct intervention include the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Pesticides Board and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PBTCB), and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
The Food and Nutrition Security 10-year strategy is fully supported by the government, and it offers opportunities for a wider range of national and local stakeholders to play a more prominent role in combating hunger and food insecurity.