Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has said that Dubai, United Arab Emirates has signalled its interest to cultivate corn and soya bean locally to boost Guyana’s poultry industry.
The emphasis on these two commodities is especially relevant since Guyana spends almost US$25 million annually to import those commodities for livestock feed.
“These are new and important crops for us in this country and we will continue to encourage investment in this aspect,” Minister Mustapha told DPI in a recent interview.
“We already have an investor from Brazil who is doing corn cultivation in the Ebini, located in upper Berbice River and I am looking forward to see more companies coming on board,” Minister Mustapha added.
To this end, he reiterated the importance of farmers capitalising on the budgetary measures meant to encourage them to start cultivation.
The Government, in the 2020 Emergency Budget, also removed value-added tax (VAT) on agriculture machinery, fertilisers, agrochemicals and pesticides, making it more feasible for such investments. Additionally, the PPP/C Administration has reversed land lease fees across all sectors and water charges back to 2014 rates.
Mustapha said now is an exciting time for agriculture in Guyana and farmers should “think big” and expand their crop repertoire.
“I am seeing a very challenging future ahead, but not only challenging alone. I am seeing a future where agriculture will once again make its input and stamp its footprint in our country’s economy over the next five years. I am very excited to be sitting at the helm to lead us to this transformation.”
Dr Oudho Homenauth, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), told DPI that Guyana must cultivate about 8000-10,000 acres of corn and soya bean to become self-sufficient.
There are farmers who have already shown their interest in cultivating 40 to 50 acres of corn. They will be provided with seeds and materials as incentives from the Agriculture Ministry. This move by Government will also allow them to have more spending power and they are assured of a permanent market for their produce.
Meanwhile, the Ministry said other areas Dubai hopes to make major investments in are fertiliser production and assemblage, organic poultry rearing, coffee, cocoa, spices and online agriculture and product development.