Aquaculture masterplan to be launched – President

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Climate change and the changing landscape of the fisheries industry led Government to think outside the box, with the announced move to transition to an aquaculture-based operation.

President Irfaan Ali informed on Friday that strategies are in place to undertake this feat, which will be supported by a masterplan that will be released in the near future.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event, he said they are placing all emphasis on sustainability in the industry, and the move to aquaculture will cushion some of the challenges being experienced due to climate change. Apart from this, Guyana must join the bandwagon in transforming the sector.

“We’re working on a sustainable pathway for the industry. Our focus is transitioning into aquaculture because they’re many different challenges outside of the control of policy as a result of climate change and the change in dynamics in the sector itself,” Dr Ali shared.

President, Dr Irfaan Ali

The Head of State said that capacity building and investments are essential at this point in time. These and other aspects will be penned in Government’s masterplan for the sector.

“We have to look at ways in which we can build capacity and expand capacity to expand the sector. Investment in aquaculture and support for this is what we’re focusing on now. Very shortly, we will address all of those issues in the context of the aquaculture masterplan that we will launch very soon.”

Aquaculture or aquafarming is the nurturing of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants and other organisms. Both freshwater and saltwater populations are reared under controlled conditions.

At the ending of 2020, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha pledged to develop the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station into a model farm that can ultimately be a boost to transform the country’s aquaculture industry. This would be in the form of injecting resources into the facility in a bid to develop it into a model farm.

He had said the reason behind such a move is “because many aquaculture farmers need guidance, extension services and also need these fingerlings for us to provide them and give them the kind of guidance to grow them.”

The Agriculture Minister said that his vision is for the industry to contribute to the agriculture output. Moreover, Mustapha noted that the industry could be the most transformative sector once adequately nourished.

“I want the aquaculture industry to make a contribution to our agriculture output, and I am hoping that extension services, research services that we plan to put here and provide to the farmers, we can encourage aquaculture farming in our country…Aquaculture farming has the potential of bringing in a lot of revenue, and many Caribbean countries and even North America and other places need these kinds of fishes. So, I will encourage and promote aquaculture,” he concluded.

The Ministry is also seeking to pursue agro-processing in a bid to reduce food loss and increase farmers’ income. Measures will also follow to maintain and sustain national food security and safety in the context of improving the quality of livestock products and reducing domestic market prices to meet the need for the most vulnerable.