The Ministry of Agriculture will be making serious efforts to revive the dairy industry. The Ministry is seeking to establish a National Dairy Plant, to capitalise on the milk production potential of Guyana.
Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder, while making his contribution to the 2017 National Budget debates, highlighted this as one of the main areas of focus for his ministry in 2017.
“At one time, Guyana had one of the most flourishing dairy industries in the Caribbean. As Minister of Agriculture, I will try to ensure that this industry sees its glory days once more. The industry is stymied due to the absence of adequate milk processing facilities. My government will see the construction of a modern milk processing plant, capable of not only producing fresh milk, but also butter, cheese and other dairy commodities,” Minister Holder said.
The Ministry of Agriculture has already taken steps towards engaging support agencies to provide assistance in funding such projects. The Ministry intends to push agriculture as a business, and develop agricultural practices mainly in the interior regions. The resuscitation and restoration of the dairy industry will provide jobs and be a catalyst for massive developments in the agriculture sector, while boosting Guyana’s food safety and export capacity and varieties.
Earlier in the year, Minister Holder met with a team from the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) to further discuss the Bank’s willingness to provide assistance in funding agricultural projects in the Intermediate Savannahs.
Minister Holder explained that, “We will coordinate milk collection by establishing cooling stations at strategic locations. It is anticipated that with these interventions, along with the necessary technical support, the sector will grow by about 10% in 2017, while at the same time making a significant contribution to increased farm incomes.”
Statistics have revealed that over the past five years, the volume of milk and dairy products imported into Guyana increased to an alarming 55 percent. The initiative to restore the dairy industry comes after the milk and dairy products ranked the highest imported food at a cost of $27M which is equivalent to 10 million kilograms as of 2015.