Farmers, agro-processors to benefit from lucrative markets this year

Government is taking a more proactive approach to ensure farmers, agro-processors and exporters are linked to the most lucrative markets, locally, regionally and internationally.

The move will see the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) developing strategies through extensive market research this year, to promote Guyana’s agricultural products here, across the region and internationally.

Farmers, agro-processors to benefit from lucrative markets this year

The sum of $340 million has been allocated to fast track the initiative through the participation of trade fairs and exhibition, and the use of e-marketing/e-commerce platforms.

E-commerce marketing is a method used to attract sales by creating and increasing awareness about an online store’s product offerings and brand.

Government plans to establish Guyana shop corners and create long-term linkages with private and public institutions.

Persons buying from a local vendor.

Since the passage of the national budget less than a month ago, the PPP/C Administration has been successful in hosting a massive farmers’ market at the Lusignan market tarmac, East Coast Demerara.

The event which received support from scores of consumers in and out of Region Four, provided an avenue for agriculturists to display and sell their fresh produce on a larger scale.

“Since our government took office, we have been meeting with various stakeholders, farmers, middlemen, agro-processors, sellers and exporters to discuss the issues facing their particular value chain and how to support the improvement of the chain with support from the agriculture agencies,” Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, had pointed out.

It is against this backdrop, the minister noted that value chain studies and implementation plan for cherries, black shrimp, dairy, honey, cattle and poultry among others, will be conducted in 2022, to guide investments and to facilitate and support efforts to link farmers to markets.

A local vendor weighing bananas for one of her customers.

The administration also plans to focus heavily on advancing the local agro-processing sector this year, with more than $261 million to be invested to accelerate the development.

“The challenges such as high cost of production, limited financing, restrictive legislation, limited access to markets, and low technology transfer have all persistently hampered the development of the agro-processing sector over the years,” Minister Mustapha underscored.

He said the previous government only increased the burden to do business through heavy taxation and no substantial investment in agro-processing.

A total of $63 million will go towards retrofitting and equipping three agro-processing facilities in White Water Creek, Shulinab, and Charity this year, as government continues to ensure all agro-processors have easy and affordable access to certified processing facilities. This will benefit over 1,500 farmers.

A farmer inspecting his plants while in the fields.

A sum of $96.5 million will be invested to ensure the operationalisation of the agro-processing and packaging facilities in Sophia, Parika, and Mabaruma.

The facilities are expected to function both for commercial production and product development for small and medium agro-processors and will give domestic consumers have access to high quality, high value and innovative local products that are internationally competitive.

Further, the New GMC will invest $19 million to construct the nation’s first ever fruits and vegetables dehydrating facility.

A sum of $8 million will be injected into the construction of three solar dryers. These will extend shelf-life and reduce post-harvest losses of perishable agricultural commodities.