With the prices of fruits and vegetables reducing across the country, Guyanese are in a better position to afford and consume fresh produce.
The reduction in costs is due to the many interventions by the government.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said the measures are among a number of strategies the administration has implemented since taking office in August 2022.
“The price of vegetables and fruits are going down and this is as a result of the intervention of the Ministry of Agriculture in giving people seeds, in facilitating them to do the best practices,” the agriculture minister said Wednesday, on the sideline of a hamper distribution exercise, at the Lusignan Community Centre Ground, East Coast Demerara.
Minister Mustapha has spearheaded several outreaches where farmers and even households that have kitchen gardens received a variety of seeds and seedlings, through the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).
With NAREI receiving $1.27 billion to stimulate its production base this year, its seeds and seedlings distribution will advance, as government forges ahead with plans to secure food for its citizens.
“We have done a lot of canals and drainage works over the last year,” Minister Mustapha added. Sufficient drainage also played a vital role in ensuring that thousands of acres of farmlands were secured, especially during the major floods.
Guyanese could also expect massive drainage and irrigation upgrades this year, with a whopping $13 billion set aside to strengthen drainage systems across Guyana.
Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo recently engaged a number of stakeholders, during a national consultation on strategic flood protection measures, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
The VP said a portion of the oil funds will be used to strengthen Guyana’s water system, as the administration takes an aggressive approach to addressing the decades-long issue.
Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha told reporters that extension officers will be more effective in the fields and provide the necessary guidance to agriculturists.
Further, he referenced the agriculture investment forum and expo set to open here on May 19-21, explaining that the initiative creates the opportunity for CARICOM states to come together to reduce the food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.
“It means Guyana will have to play a big role and our farmers, and production in Guyana will have to be ramped up and our famers will have the benefits. Guyana has an abundance of fresh water and a lot of land space. We can use that to produce more of the food that Caricom is using, so that we can export into the regional market. So, we will have more revenues coming into the country through the agriculture sector,” Minister Mustapha added.
He remains optimistic that the food industry will see a significant boost. He said all of the efforts by government are channeled towards diversifying the agriculture sector, to specifically withstand the shocks that have been occurring over the years.