Gov’t working aggressively towards making Guyana regional food hub

– aims to meet nutritional needs of all Guyanese
– investing in new agri technology

Guyana’s agriculture sector will move leaps and bounds in 2023, as the PPP/C Government will be taking an aggressive approach towards accomplishing its overarching food agenda.

The administration aims to sustainably meet the nutritional needs of every Guyanese, as well as make the nation self-sufficient and a regional food hub.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

With a host of agriculture interventions set for 2023, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that his ministry is prepared to aggressively advance the sector.

He said several persons have already signaled their interest to invest in new agriculture technology like hydroponics, among others.

For context, hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture that involves growing plants, usually crops or medicinal plants, without soil, by using water-based mineral nutrient solutions.

The agriculture minister said his ministry plans to ramp up the artificial insemination (AI) programme.

“We have already signed a contract with a Brazilian firm to start the transfer of embryos. Over 300 animals were already identified. And that process in less than a month,” he told DPI.

Minister Mustapha explained that the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep project will also see significant expansion this year.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha greets farmers

Following a discussion with his Barbados counterpart, the minister noted that the remaining tranche of the Barbados blackbelly sheep is expected to arrive before the end of the first quarter of 2023.

“We have already started the process of building the pens and preparing the pastures and getting things in order… by June the programme will be in full swing,” he noted.

The fisheries sector is also in for a major turnaround, Minister Mustapha underscored, noting that more resources will be made available to ensure the industry is sustained. 

“We have started the cage culture that the president spoke about. We already have eight cages and those cages are stuck with Tambaqui. And over the next few months, you will see that will ramp up, too, in the various hinterland areas,” Minister Mustapha added.

With Guyana currently importing approximately 52 million eggs annually at a cost of some $350 million, efforts are being advanced to establish a sustainable hatching egg industry to support the local poultry sector.

Additionally, shrimp production will be expanded, while there will be increased use of shade houses in the agricultural sector, promoting large-scale cultivation of high-value crops such as broccoli and cauliflower, and large-scale dairy production.

The government allocated some $38 billion to advance the nation’s agriculture sector in 2022. That represents an almost 100 per cent increase from the 2020 allocation.