Guyana is set to become the first Caribbean country to be a part of the Competitive Fund for Technical Cooperation (FonTc) Bio-inputs Agricultural Project, funded by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The project is aimed at developing the institutional framework for commercial bio-inputs for agricultural use. It will see collaboration among Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Guyana.
At the launch of the FonTc Bio-inputs Agricultural Project today, at the Ministry of Agriculture, IICA’s Representative in Guyana, Wilmot Garnett told the gathering of agricultural stakeholders, “The search for sustainable systems of agricultural production that are resilient, efficient and able to mitigate adverse environmental impacts caused by climate change require the use of technological packages involving the use of inputs of biological and chemical origin which must be used to specification to ensure agricultural, human, animal and environmental health.”
Acknowledging the importance of the use of standards and protocols for evaluation, registration and post- registration of bio-inputs, the IICA representative said, “Establishment of appropriate institutional structures are essential to support agricultural input, suppliers that want to market in a country chemical or biological products, after obtaining registration with the respective competent authorities.”
Garnett added that, “The sub-sector of commercial bio-inputs is underdeveloped in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and its availability and use is very limited.”
The project award to Guyana resulted from a competitive process which saw 27 countries applying, seven being shortlisted, and three selected for funding.
“The Competitive Fund for Technical Cooperation in IICA (FonTc) has approved and granted funding for the implementation of the project for “Development of the institutional frameworks of the subsector of commercial bio-inputs for agricultural use (inoculants and bio-pesticides) to promote cleaner agriculture in Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Guyana,” Garnett further explained.
The best practices will be shared and Guyana will set the standard in the Caribbean region, the IICA representative explained.
The project aims to engage the private and public sectors, to strengthen and develop the institutional capacity required to conduct the evaluation processes, registration, and post-registration control of commercial bio-inputs for agricultural use.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis said, from as far back as 1992 “we were using bio inputs to use copra instead of using the inorganic and other toxic chemicals. It is not new to us. What is new and very welcome is the fact that we are looking to make an industry here which will have the capacity of creating jobs and helping to green our agriculture.”
Further, Jervis, in explaining the benefits of using Bio- inputs in agriculture production said, “A transition to green agriculture can restore and maintain soil fertility, reduce soil erosion and chemical pollution, increase water use efficiency, decrease deforestation biodiversity loss and other land use consequences it is within this context that we need to intensify the use of bio inputs in the agriculture sector.”
The project will be executed by IICA in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB).