(Source – Guyana Chronicle)
MINISTER of Agriculture, Noel Holder has said that Guyana’s agricultural sector is en route to becoming a ‘green’ one as Guyana transforms holistically into the Green State envisioned by President David Granger.
Addressing stakeholders at the International Small Business Summit, held at the Ramada Princess Hotel as part of the Green Guyana expo, Holder said: “A paradigm shift is required to transform today’s predominantly conventional brown agriculture to an ecologically greener agriculture.”
He explained that Guyana is on track to becoming a ‘green’ state, as envisioned by President Granger and that includes the development of green agriculture.
Green agriculture entails the reduction of the excessive extraction of soil nutrients, lessened use of chemicals in planting such as fertilisers, the reduced use of extensive farm mechanisation, less use of transportation fuels and a reduction in water usage that exceeds the hydrological recharge rate.
Instead, it advanced the use of sustainable agro-chemicals, integrates location-specific organic resources and natural biological processes to restore and improve soil fertility.
“[Moving] towards a green agriculture sector stipulates we must create sustainable livelihoods to feed a growing population, and at the same time safeguard the environment,” he stressed.
And he added, “green growth has an important role to play in fostering the interlinkages between sustainable agriculture and the empowerment of our farmers, agro-processors, and exporters to enhance their standard of living.”
Under the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), the government is seeking to reorient and diversify Guyana’s economy, reduce reliance on transitional sectors and open up new sustainable income and investment opportunities, Holder reminded.
As such, he said his Ministry is doing its best to foster this agenda and will be embracing green agriculture throughout the sector. In so doing, he opined that the summit and expo are especially timely as they underscore that the transition to more sustainable agriculture will require a change in the ways things are done. The event also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to learn how to do things differently, from local and foreign experts.
But the summit and expo will not be the only avenues where learning about the transformation of the sector will take place.
He said that the labour pool within the sector- the farmers and supply-chain partners- must be fed with information through training sessions and engagements with the public and private sectors before they can wholly adopt green agricultural practices. This is imperative, according to Holder, who also said that only then will the sector reap benefits from the transformation.
And with 80 per cent of the country’s population residing on the low-lying coastal zone which is susceptible to natural disasters spurring from climate change, the population should understand the importance of this move to green agriculture.
The new practices associated with green agriculture will help with mitigation, he explained and added: “We are improving the drainage and irrigation infrastructure, promoting climate-smart practices and extending our agricultural base inland.”