First agricultural census in 65 years to be conducted

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The Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme (SADP) was this morning launched at the Ministry of Agriculture. One of the initial actions to be implemented under this programme will be an agricultural census.

Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, who gave the feature address at the launch of the programme, said that the census will help farmers, policymakers and others involved in the sector, to determine strategies to ensure sustainable farming.

“It will be our first agricultural census in 65 years, an event which is supposed to happen every 10 years. With this focus on Guyana’s vital agricultural sector, information from this census will give our planners and policymakers an understanding of the progress and future prospects of all agricultural industries and their products, and of our farm practices,” Minister Holder explained.

The SADP programme is provided under  an agreement between the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Inter-American Development Bank(IDB), that was signed in February, 2017.

The objective of the programme is to increase productivity of the agricultural sector while maintaining sustainable and climate resilient use of natural resources in Guyana.

The SADP loan is worth US$15M and is broken down into five components including; Information for policy making and natural resource management – US$4.1M or 27.8 per cent, strengthening of the agricultural innovation and extension system – US$6.39M or 42.7 per cent, support for compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary standards – US$2.8M or 18.7 per cent, monitoring and evaluation – US$400,000 or 2.7 per cent and programme administration – US$1.2M or 8.2 percent.

The main beneficiaries of the programme will be farmers in Regions Five, Nine, Ten and agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture. More than 29,000 families in these regions are set to benefit from this programme.

The programme will strengthen the various steps in the research and innovation and extension processes.

The preparation and implementation of the agricultural census is factored into the first component of the programme while the second component facilitates construction and rehabilitation of an agricultural centre in Region Nine.

The centre will see the implementation of five research programmes in the areas of cassava, peanuts, orchards, livestock (cattle and small ruminants) and pasture development.

The third component of the SADP will see increased sanitary and phytosanitary standards and access to meat processing facilities. This will be achieved by implementing improvements in infrastructure, ensuring adequate regulations are in place as well as maximizing the number of trained inspectors and supporting policies.

The loan and programme period is expected to cover six years. At the end of this period, there is projected to be a higher scale of private investment in the sector higher farming productivity, a higher volume of products processed by pilot facilities and an increase in the use of practices that would reduce pressure currently placed on eco systems. (GINA)

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