High-value crops initiative part of transforming Guyana’s food sector

─ $200M allocated to expand project in 2023

The Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led Administration has made good on its promise to encourage young people to pursue a career in agriculture, with the launch of the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP).

One of the shade houses under the youth programme

Looking to the future, the government has allocated $200 million in its 2023 budget for the expansion of the youth farming programme this year.

The initiative was launched by President Ali in January 2022, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).

There, Dr Ali said the flagship undertaking will stimulate and promote significant economic growth in the lives of young agriculturists.

One of the shade houses under the youth programme

More than 100 young graduates of the University of Guyana and the Guyana School of Agriculture are engaged in shade house farming, growing crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and romaine and iceberg lettuce.

As a result, over 16 metric tonnes of vegetables were produced. Interested stakeholders from Barbados are benefitting from the project.

Initially, about 25 shade houses were to be established for the cultivation of three high value crops. However, the success of the programme prompted the government to invest further in the initiative.

By the end of 2022, 120 shade houses were constructed to support the production.

The administration aims to engage a further 100 new young agri-entrepreneurs and increase the production of the crops by 50 per cent.

The ambitious goal will benefit young people by providing them with employment opportunities, and boost the country’s economy by increasing food security and exports of high-value crops.

The AIEP is a game-changer for Guyana’s agricultural sector, and it is expected to have a significant positive impact on the country in the short and long term.

The government’s commitment to investing in the programme is a clear indication that it is dedicated to revolutionising the agriculture sector and positioning Guyana as a major player in the global market.

Meanwhile, a fresh flower project was rolled out in 2022, which saw the production of 2,551 roses, while creating additional employment and generating income for single parents.