25 farmers, extension officers undergoing training to properly export fresh produce

Twenty-five farmers and extension officers are undergoing a series of practical and theoretical training exercises that will prepare them to comply with the requirements to export fresh produce to the United States of America.

The three-day workshop is for Guyana to promote the understanding of the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FMSA) Produce Safety Rule.

It is being hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Corporation on Agriculture (IICA), with support from the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA-FAS).

Some of the participants for the training

The programme’s goal is to improve competitiveness and the technical proficiency of food safety experts to adhere to the FMSA’s criteria.

During the opening ceremony at the ministry’s head office, Regent Street and Vlissengen Road, Georgetown, on Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said the sessions will further enhance the technical capacity of agricultural producers.

“We want to be a net exporter not only for the Caribbean but around the world. As such, we have no option but to rapidly improve our food control system, to fully meet regional and international standards,” the agriculture minister stated.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

Meanwhile, IICA’s Country Representative, Wilmot Garnett outlined several of the modules’ areas the training will focus on, which is a requirement globally.

IICA’s Country Representative, Wilmot Garnett

Introduction to safety, land use, worker’s health, hygiene training, soil amendments, wildlife, domesticated animals, and interacting with animals are among some of the training areas.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy, Adrienne Galanek also delivered brief remarks.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy, Adrienne Galanek

“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of food safety standards to all populations from planting to consumption. The negative effects of lack of food safety can be catastrophic. This training includes information on how to assess food safety risks, implement good agricultural practices, and meet regulatory requirements,” Galanek underscored. The training which is expected to end on Friday is being facilitated by experts from Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, and IICA’s Guyana office.