The Ministry of Agriculture is gearing to equip small farmers with the information needed to take advantage of available markets and so produce crops that are in demand.
Addressing Essequibo farmers over the weekend, Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder said that successfully facilitating and supporting efforts to link small farmers to dynamic markets has become an important issue. As such, the Ministry is working to realise the vision of an agriculture sector, which captures not only the development of the coastal plain, but the expansion of the agricultural base inland.
“Too often we have situations in our country, where the farmers complain, ‘I produce so many peppers and I cannot sell them’, well that is putting the cart before the horse. We should be able to say there is a market for peppers and that market requires the equivalent of 10,000 acres. We would get our farmers to produce peppers,” Minister Holder said.
The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the Guyana Marketing Corporation are tasked with pushing this market- led agriculture development drive. To this end, the two agencies are partnering to complete and operationalise a Market Information System that will guide farmers’ production, to satisfy changing consumer preferences, among others.
“We do not set prices for any commodity, our production of rice is less than what is produced in the USA, which produces approximately 10 times more than what we produce, so we cannot set prices on the world market, we have to take prices and we have to position ourselves to capture what markets are available, in rice, in sugar, in any commodity that you can think of, and that is how we have to get ourselves organised into market-led production,” he explained.
Supporting market infrastructure, including market information and market linkages are critical to making agriculture profitable, he noted.