Budget 2024: $527.4M to expand agro-processing opportunities

A total of $527.4 million has been proposed in this year’s national budget to increase opportunities for agro-processors, farmers, and women.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh said Guyana is promoting the growth of the agro-processing industry, including value-chain development and market expansion for its produce and products.

Various agro-processed products on display

Presenting the nation’s fiscal package for 2024 in the National Assembly Monday last, Dr Singh made it clear that the administration aims to create opportunities for sustained livelihoods for small entrepreneurs and communities.

“In 2024, we will continue to support the agro-processing industry. We will provide training to farmers and agro-processors on large-scale production. We will support post-harvest management through training and storage facilities [and] help to expand market opportunities with the establishment of 60 new Guyana Shop locations throughout the country,” the senior minister underscored.

A sum of $180 million was expended in 2023 for interventions aimed at supporting agro-processors and providing opportunities for farmers to add value to their products.

Various agro-processed products on display

Three new agro-processing facilities were completed in Regions One, Two, Nine, and Ten. Rehabilitation works on the processing facility were completed at Orealla.

Meanwhile, equipment was installed in agro-processing facilities at Mabaruma, Parika, and Sophia.

Some 130 new agro-processing products were launched in 2023 including Taz Instant Cook-up Rice, Basara Gentle Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner, Aunt Bago Mango Achar, and Heather’s Products Cookies, among others.

Various agro-processed products on display

Additionally, about 54 new Guyana Shop corners were established countrywide bringing the total number in operation to 68.

These new shop corners in various areas have helped to facilitate the decentralisation of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC). 

Two refrigerated trucks were also procured, while solar dryers were established at Crabwood Creek and Nappi.

Various agro-processed products on display

Importantly, works were advanced on the construction of a cold storage facility in Bartica, Region Seven.

Solar dryers in Baracara, Cozier Canal, and Kamarang are scheduled for completion in this year. Large sums of money are being pumped into the agriculture sector as Guyana is spearheading the Caribbean region’s efforts to achieve food security and self-sufficiency.