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Guyana Poised To Become A Regional Food Hub For CARICOM: Agriculture Minister

Guyana's Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, addressing farmers in the city of Linden and surrounding communities. Photo credit: GDPI.

Guyana Poised To Become A Regional Food Hub For CARICOM: Agriculture Minister

LINDEN/WISMAR, Guyana (Monday, February 20, 2023) — During an outreach to several communities in Region 10 and along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway (Region Four), last Friday, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, reassured farmers that they will continue to benefit from the country’s resources, as the government works to make Guyana a regional food hub.

Minister Mustapha traveled to Christianburg, Block 42, Moblissa, Yarrowkabra, and Kuru Kururu to meet with farmers from several communities, to discuss the government’s plans to develop the agriculture sector in those areas, and to listen to any issues that farmers and residents may be facing.

While engaging farmers, Minister Mustapha said the government intends to increase production, as it works with other CARICOM member states, to lower the regional food import bill. To achieve this, he noted, Guyana has to play that leading role and is already poised to become a food hub for the region.

A section of the gathering at Kuru Kururu. Photo credit: GDPI.

He explained that farmers from every community have a role to play, if Guyana is to achieve its goal, and that the government will continue to make the necessary resources available to ensure the sector becomes resilient.

While acknowledging the government’s interventions to improve and develop the sector, several farmers sought the minister’s assistance with providing an update on applications made for land titles to expand their cultivation.

The farmers explained that in order to receive loans from the bank to expand, they need the necessary documentation for the lands, which have to be issued from either the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) or the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). 

Farmers also sought the minister’s assistance with agricultural inputs, such as seeds, seedlings, farming tools, machinery with implements, Black Giant chicks, and piglets to develop the poultry and swine industries.

Onifa Pantlitz, a 22-year-old student of the University of Guyana, who resides at Blueberry Hill, Linden, told the minister that, like many other young people in her community, she was interested in swine production and sought the minister’s assistance with getting involved in the sector.

A 22-year-old University of Guyana student, Onifa Pantlitz, of Blueberry, Linden, expresses an interest in swine production. Photo credit: GDPI.

While responding to her request, Minister Mustapha said he was delighted to hear about her interest in the sector, as the government has been working to get more youths involved in agriculture.

“I am happy that you want to get involved in agriculture. I am also happy to hear that more young people have the same desire. I am charging you to get those young people together and form a group, and I will assist you with getting involved in swine production. We have an investor, who will be building a processing factory to produce sausages, and so on, and we’ll need pork to supply that factory. The demand for pork will increase tremendously, so you can concentrate on doing that,” he noted.

Minister Mustapha engaging farmers from Yarrowkabra. Photo credit: GDPI

Farming communities will also benefit from tools, seeds, seedlings, Acoushi Ants’ bait, and other farming inputs. The minister also committed to ensuring farmers benefit from improved extension services, as the ministry is currently working to revamp its extension department to better serve farmers across the country.

Friday’s meetings were attended by representatives from Banakari, Circuitville, Yarrowkabra, Moblissa, Block 42, Blueberry Hill, Hauraruni, Wisroc, Christianburg, Wismar, Kuru Kururu, and other surrounding communities. 

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