[www.inewsguyana.com] – Agriculture Month activities began yesterday (Wednesday, October 01) at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) where persons are being trained to take up work in the sector and help to maintain Guyana’s Food Security.
The month is being held under the theme, “Enhancing Agriculture through Family Farming and the use of Sustainable Technologies”.
With a focus on ‘Eat what we produce’, the aim is to ultimately reduce the food import bill of Guyana, an issue which is also of concern in other countries across the CARICOM region. Agriculture Month 2014 was initially launched in August at the Ministry of Agriculture with a Food and Nutrition Cook- Off competition aimed at bringing to the fore, dishes made using only local products.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy observed that each October is a reaffirmation that agriculture is important to Guyana and “agriculture is our vehicle not only for sustainable growth, but for social progress and social prosperity.”
He noted that the GSA is the home for agriculture in Guyana signifying the growth of the sector. Minster Ramsammy pointed to the message presented to the people of Guyana by former Minister of Agriculture Brindley Horatio Benn (Snr.) when he declared the GSA open in 1963.
The message was that Guyana would not only feed itself and become food secure, but be an exporter of food to help other countries in the Region. The GSA has become part of the system to ensure Guyana’s food security, the Minister stressed.
Minister Ramsammy emphasised that while Guyana’s food is being used across the region, it is also being used in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
In celebrating Agriculture Month 2014, the Minister pointed out, Guyana is aiming towards the milestone of exporting 500,000 tonnes of rice, a figure which was just a dream five years ago.
He explained that in 2014, the small farmers will invest more than $30B in the rice industry, more than $10B in cash crops, and artisanal fishermen, upwards of $10B. Minister Ramsammy emphasised that families during one year would invest a total of over $50B because they recognised the profitability of the sector.
“In Agriculture Month 2014, we pay tribute to these small farmers,” Minister Ramsammy declared, and urged their continued support by Government through sustainable technologies. Pointing to the use of pesticides he noted that the world is dealing with Climate Change and the environment to which past policies and practices contributed. [Extracted and modified from GINA]