Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, said that the programme to diversify the agriculture sector and move production inland is progressing, with soya-bean and paddy production in the hinterland, the production of spices in Region One and, improved drainage and irrigation in the Rupununi.
Holder told the Government Information Agency (GINA), that diversifying into new crops such as spices could save foreign exchange.
“We are also working in places in Region One and others with a view to putting in things like ginger and turmeric. This country imports nearly US $2M of turmeric and ginger per year,” Holder said.
In the hinterland, things were moving ahead rapidly and within another three or so years there will be a transformation of the intermediate savannahs, Holder said.
“I think that’s (hinterland agriculture development) going ahead pretty quickly. Currently the Brazilian firm of New Frontier Agriculture is in the Intermediate Savannahs. They are putting down 300 acres of Soya Bean right now with a view of getting up to 10,000 acres shortly,” the agriculture minister explained.
According to the minister, there are teams looking at irrigation of land in the Rupununi so that when land is made available to farmers, the can access water.
Holder noted that the Barbadian owned Santa Fe Farms, operating in the Rupununi savannahs, is producing thousands of acres of paddy which is being exported to Brazil, Guyana’s south western neighbour.
Since coming to office following the May 2015 General and Regional Elections the coalition government has been pushing for the country’s agriculture sector to be more diversified and hinterland based as a way of minimizing crops loss due to flooding.