‘Guyana poised for tremendous growth in the agri. sector in 2024’ – Min. Mustapha

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha emphasised that Guyana’s agricultural sector is poised for tremendous growth in 2024 due to the direct result of government’s prudent management of initiatives and investments.

The $97.6 billion budgetary allocation for agricultural development this year heavy investment in innovative irrigation and drainage infrastructure.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

He made the remarks during an interview at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, on Tuesday.  

Guyana has placed a strong precedence on food security while continuing to fast-track the agri-food system in the Caribbean.

The agriculture minister further stated, “We have seen massive growth in the agriculture sector last year…And almost all the sub-sectors in the agriculture sector, we have seen massive growth. This came about because of the government’s vision and investments in terms of driving the agriculture sector.”

In 2023, Guyana recorded a 28 per cent in sugar production while the rice growing sector is estimated to have expanded by 7 per cent.

The minister also cited the various agricultural interventions that will be undertaken this year. These include the production of corn and soya beans, high-value crops, fisheries and aquaculture, enhancing drainage and irrigation (D&I) infrastructure, among others.

As Guyana continues to reap significant results due to the strategic investments to transform the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector, 1.2 billion is budgeted for fisheries and aquaculture development initiatives in 2024.

This year, Minister Mustapha stated that Guyana is poised to commence the production of prawns.

“We hope that Guyana will be first country in the Caribbean to start exporting these products coming out of the Caribbean…Generally, in the agriculture sector, I am very satisfied with the tremendous growth coming out of this sector,” he added.

Provisions were also concluded to commence the construction of the US$14 million Regional Food Hub on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway, this year.

This undertaking will further propel Guyana’s goal of becoming the lead exporter in CARICOM, while achieving food security.

“Guyana will be a distribution point in the Caribbean to distribute a number of food items to various parts of CARICOM,” Minister Mustapha reemphasised.

In 2023, Guyana’s exportation of non-traditional commodities totaled 8,926 metric tonnes valued $1.8 billion.

All of these initiatives will take Guyana further to reducing the CARICOM’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.