Message from the Honourable Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture for Agriculture Month 2019

The Ministry of Agriculture has been pursuing interventions to ensure food security for all, specifically, access to safe food throughout the country, with a view to maintaining a healthy and productive population. With the passing of the Food Safety and Animal Welfare Bills, the activation of such practices within Guyana will ensure that the country is a benefactor in securing external markets for its agricultural products, and safeguarding our own food supply.

Agriculture Month 2019 is being held under the theme ‘‘Sustainable Agriculture for ensuring Food Safety in a Green Economy”. As a government, we are focused on the oversight required to regulate the food ecosystem. As such, we have embarked on the operationalization of the Food Safety Authority. Allocating greater technical and financial support towards establishing an institution designed to coordinate the food safety system in Guyana. To give life to this vision, and by ensuring food safety through monitoring the use, patterns and practices of chemicals by examining pesticides residues in agricultural produce, the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB) will commission the Pesticides Laboratory on October 25, 2019.

Climate change is threatening to destroy our agriculture potential. To sustainably increase agriculture’s productivity and the income of farmers, the Climate Smart Agriculture Project will be launched in regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 to provide opportunities for farmers and community groups to establish new, or to scale-up, existing shade houses. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will provide technical support, monitoring and evaluation, and marketing support. Funding is from the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) of the Ministry of Finance.

We will join the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization on October 16 to celebrate World Food Day under the theme, “Our Actions are our future, Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHungerWorld,” at La Bonne Intention Agricultural Complex (LBI). A day when we will reinforce our commitment to ‘Safe food and healthy diets’. The importance of food safety in achieving better human nutrition through healthy nutritious diets cannot be reiterated enough. For healthy diets we must improve food safety. Many Governments have made food safety a public priority. A paradigm shift in the approach to food safety is required starting from our farms and ending at the dining table.

Some annual activities that have become synonymous with Agriculture Month will continue. These include the National Tree Day; Open Days at the Rice Research Station at Burma, at our agricultural complex Mon Repos and MMA/ADA; NAREI’s Annual Research Conference; the Ministry of Agriculture’s Healthy Cook-Off Competition; the GLDA Ambulatory and Community Outreaches across the Regions; NAREI’s Farmers’ Career Day; Career Day activities in schools by various agencies, and the GMC Farmers and Agro-Processors’ Market Day, are just a few.

Notably, the Hydrometerological Service will commission its Water Quality Laboratory and also an Automatic Weather Station at St. Cuthbert’s Mission; the Ministry’s Fisheries Department will receive the Management Plan for the Artisanal Sector 2019- 2024 from the World Wildlife Fund. The NDIA will commission a Suction- Cutter Head Dredge for cleaning numerous outfalls of our drainage channels and its new Office in Region 2.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s team looks forward to collaborating with our colleagues and stakeholders in the planned activities. Let us participate together for a productive and successful Agriculture Month 2019.

Hon. Noel Holder, M.P.

Minister of Agriculture