Some $58M has been set aside to make the necessary investments in order to double the annual shrimp production in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has announced.
Inland shrimp production currently stands at some 250,000 kilograms per annum. Inland shrimp produce is commonly referred to as “black shrimp” or “Corentyne shrimp”. It has a high demand in the diaspora with prices reaching $20,000 for a five-gallon bucket.
During a meeting with fish farmers on Saturday, Mustapha said the goal is to start producing 500,000 kilograms of shrimp annually.
“That entails a number of interventions that Government has to make. We are doing this not only to increase your livelihood in terms of income. We are going this to increase the capacity of shrimp production in Region Six. And at the same time, it will help to create employment for people,” the Minister said.
The Ministry will be ensuring that proper infrastructure is in place so that farmers can access seawater for their fish farms. Layout and the placement of conduct tubes are slated to be completed this week.
“We will have to assign machinery and our technical people will be coming there and I want you to know that we will not compromise any sea defence,” Mustapha added. Work is expected to commence this week.
Farmers whose operations threaten the sea defence will have to make the necessary adjustments.
According to the Minister, Government wants to further develop the shrimp industry.
The demand for inland shrimp from Guyana has resulted in business persons smuggling shrimp from neighbouring Suriname and using black hair die to colour the shrimp so that it looks like the “Corentyne black shrimp”.
However, the fake shrimp is seldom consumed locally but exported to North America.
“The aim of the Government is to develop the fish industry to ensure that we have more exports.”
The Minister noted that special markets will be targeted for the inland shrimp. He said jobs are also expected to be created in the process.
The aim is also to use more scientific methods to produce shrimp inland. All the needed technical advice will be provided by the Ministry and arrangements are also being made to have fish feed produced locally.