– $17BILLION allocated to sector
– restructuring of GuySuCo and the recapitalisation of estates, among other measures to be used
Of the $300.7Billion budget presented in the National Assembly on Monday, the Agriculture Ministry has been allocated $17Billion, to execute its mandate for the fiscal year 2019.
According to Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, thus far, investments to support agriculture diversification have borne fruit, with some expansion of non-traditional crops.
However, according to Minister Jordan, “government must ramp up the diversification efforts to take advantage of available resources and solidify the transformation that is required for building economic resilience.”
He said priority areas include; food safety and security, productivity, improved infrastructure, new value chains and value-added industries, that boost investment in agro-processing, and institutional capacity.
“Earlier this year, we signed an agreement with the premier Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute to support enhanced productivity in our rice industry. Three new high-yielding, pest-resistant and disease resistant varieties, one of which is an aromatic variety, will be tested for production in Guyana, with an expected increase in yield of five per cent per annum, over the next three years,” Minister Jordan explained.
Additionally, the Finance Minister says some 1,500 farmers and 10 rice millers will be equipped with knowledge and skills in breeding and certified seed production.
The programme will also create three new rice-based, value-added end products, namely pre-gelatinised rice powder, rice pasta and rice chiffon cakes, a nutritious-dense composite for the elderly.
According to the government’s projections for 2019, the agriculture, fishing and forestry sectors will grow by 3.9 per cent.
“The restructuring of GuySuCo and the recapitalisation of estates will see production increasing progressively over the next few years… Rice will continue to grow steadily, increasing by 2.7 per cent, in 2019, as farmers continue to realise productivity gains due to better practices and improved varieties,” Minister Jordan said.