Agriculture Month 2017 is being celebrated under the theme: Food Security and Hinterland Development – Our National Priority, and is aimed at stimulating greater food security; increasing food production and productivity and shifting Guyana’s agricultural base inland.
The Ministry of Business supports this vision. Against the backdrop of climate change which poses a constant threat to our ability to ensure that at all times all of our people have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, it is necessary to explore other avenues where food production faces less of a threat and at the same time where we can make progress in ensuring economic inclusivity of our hinterland regions.
The agriculture sector has historically played a significant role in Guyana’s development, but an even greater role is envisaged. A number of factors will influence the growth of the sector, some of which are: more efficient methods of production, diversification of crops, value-added productivity and greater local consumption of locally produced foods (which will help to reduce our food import bill).
The Ministry of Business contributes to the buoyancy of the agriculture sectors in a number of ways, some of which are:
The National Codex Committee: This body is coordinated through the Guyana National Bureau of Standards and among its functions, advises the Government on the implementation of Codex standards and coordinates the harmonization of national food standards with international recommendations. Through the adherence to quality standards our local producers are able to trade across borders much easier.
The National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) for Economic Diversification & Trade Promotion Project will see enhancement of Guyana’s National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) as well as the development of the National Export and Investment Promotion strategy. The thrust of this project is to improve the compliance of products for local and export markets, while at the same time supporting growth, diversification and expansion of the economy.
Assisting small Agro-process -The Department of Commerce of the Ministry of Business in collaboration with the New Guyana Marketing Corporation has been working with agro-processors to make them export ready by providing targeted interventions. The department has conducted a number of surveys to identify agro-processors with significant growth potential to work with.
Business Incubators– will become a characteristic of the new Industrial estates being developed by the Ministry of Business. The two new estates currently being developed will see small agro-processors in Lethem and Berbice being prioritized to participate in the incubator programmes.
Training- There have been a series of Exporter Training Sessions aimed at assisting exporters of traditional and non-traditional products to understand the business and marketing aspects of crop farming and to bring their products to export readiness.
Support for Regional Exhibitions– These consumer based events help to put each region’s agriculture sector in the limelight- the Ministry of Business encourages and supports these expos. We are partnering with the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association to host Uncapped Agro-processors Exhibition and market from October 27-29.
Promoting Agro-Tourism- During last year the Ministry hosted the inaugural coconut festival which sought to highlight the opportunities for Guyana to expand the agriculture sector into other areas.