Third Regional Agri-Investment Forum deemed a success

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the Third Regional Agri-Investment Forum and Expo held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.

The event, which featured the participation of 150 exhibitors, over 80 agro-processors, investors, farmers, government officials, and various stakeholders, was hailed as a resounding success.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

“Overall, this year’s Agri-Investment Forum and Expo was a success. Very soon we will begin preliminary plans for next year’s Expo which promises to be even better,” he said during a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

This year’s event, which was organised by the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Agriculture, and the CARICOM Secretariat, was held under the theme ‘Accelerating Vision 25 by 2025’

It is the second event of its kind held in Guyana, with attendance from several high-level delegations from Suriname, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Saint Vincent, North America, Canada, among others.

The event was developed to create a platform for various areas that contribute to the development of the agriculture sector, both locally and regionally, to discuss, and to provide players in the sector an opportunity to network and showcase their products and services.

The minister added that the event also serves as a mechanism to address the issue of the region’s rising food import bill and to stimulate investment in the agriculture and food production sectors.

During the first two days of the expo, several important projects were launched. Among them, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali inaugurated a US$4.5 million hydroponics programme for youth from regions Two, Five, and 10, which will be part of the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme.

“This is an expansion of the programme which was started about a year ago, where we have 54 shade houses at Mon Repos and now this will be replicated with a different aspect of it, not shade house per se but hydroponics,” he explained.

On Saturday, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips launched the new bio-fortified zinc-enriched rice variety.

Described as a ‘game changer,’ Minister Mustapha stated that the new rice variety will enable farmers to benefit from preferential pricing, while also providing consumers with the required level of nutrition for effective immune health.

Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture signed a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Cuba for the provision of agricultural and forestry technical assistance services.

The objective of the MOU is to establish the general framework of cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba and the Ministry of Agriculture of Guyana in vegetable products, livestock and animal products, beekeeping, forestry and other areas of interest.

Further, the forum aspect of the event featured technical presentations and panel discussions addressing critical areas in the agriculture sector, such as women and youth in agriculture, financing, climate smart initiative, agricultural technology and the Low Carbon Development Strategy.

There was also a three-day farmers’ market at the ACCC. The minister took the opportunity to express appreciation to all those who worked to ensure the event was a success.