The Ministry of Agriculture has unveiled its calendar events for Agriculture Month 2019. Kicking off on September 29, the activities will be held under the theme “Sustaining Agriculture for ensuring Food Safety and a Green Economy”.
This was disclosed by Agriculture Minister, Hon. Noel Holder and Minister within the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood on Thursday at a media briefing.
Similarly, like last year the month of activities will officially begin with an Interfaith Service at the Head Office on September 29.
Among the many events scheduled are the launching of a ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ project in Regions, 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. According to Minister Holder, the project will provide opportunities for farmers and community groups to construct new or upgrade existing shade houses. This venture is a collaboration between the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the National Agriculture and Extension Institute (NARIE) and the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
Also, of note is the commissioning of an Automatic Weather Station at St Cuthbert’s Mission and the opening of the Guyana Rice Development Board’s new head office at the Agriculture Complex at La Bonne Intention (LBI).
Addressing the members of the media, Minister Holder noted that the importance of the agri-sector to the country’s economy cannot be overstated. Agriculture he said “contributes to 16.2 % to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the relative share nationally of persons employed in agriculture is 17.8 percent and approximately 26 percent of Guyana’s export earnings come from Agriculture. Furthermore, the sector is a significant contributor to our domestic food and nutrition security.
Noting that 2020 is a significant year in terms of oil production for Guyana Minister Holder assured that the government will “continued to promote and support the development of agriculture in Guyana… through a shift from subsistence farming to market-led farming; through livelihood and income-generating opportunities and the delivery of quality agricultural produce, products and services for local consumption and export.”
He also said the ministry is embarking on the initiation of its Food Safety Authority in its mission to ensure food security throughout Guyana. Minister Holder noted that with the necessary legislation in place the body will now assist in “prevention of food-borne diseases through the control of the production, preparation, handling, storage and transportation of food. And coordinate and regulate the system for food safety in Guyana.”
In her remarks, Minister Adams-Yearwood mentioned the addition of a new activity to the calendar of activities – “a day for older persons”. “We will have elderly persons from Regions 5,6 and 10, at the GSA [Guyana School of Agriculture] next Tuesday. They will be exposed to farming techniques because we feel that even though they are senior citizens they can participate by cultivating their kitchen gardens at home,” she explained.
Among the other events that have become associated with the months are the National Tree Day, World Food Day and Open Day at the Rice Research Station at Burma.