Guyana looking to supply all regional agro-chemical needs – Pres Ali


As the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations holds its Ministerial conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in Guyana, President Dr Irfaan Ali has revealed that bilateral talks were well advanced for Guyana to be able to, among other things, supply all the agro-chemical needs of the Region.
FAO kicked off its 38th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean on Monday, with Guyana as the host country. During the opening ceremony at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), the keynote speech was delivered by President Ali, who said that Guyana was actively partnering with various countries when it comes to building agricultural capacity.

There is the issue of export of agro-chemicals, which would include fertilisers and pesticides. According to the President, Guyana is collaborating directly with Cuba on this and talks are well advanced between the two countries.
“Recently, we’ve started to work with Cuba in an aggressive way, to build out the system using the technology for what is known there as a bio-farming industry, but building out an industry that we would look at producing all our veterinary needs here in Guyana, all our agro-chemical needs for the Region, right here in Guyana and those discussions are at an advanced stage, as we seek to build out an eco-system and infrastructure that will serve the collective fold.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali

Then there is the issue of export markets, particularly since external markets for exports will be needed if regional food production outstrips regional demand. Special mention was also made of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), through which Guyana is working with Brazil on agricultural development.
“We understand also that as our production increases, we have to look at markets and technology. For this reason, we have engaged the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the US, Dominican Republic, China, Canada and of course, Brazil, through EMBRAPA. These are all important partners we’re working with,” the Head of State said.

Investment plans

Meanwhile, FAO Director General QU Dongyu revealed that the Organisation was working closely with 14 countries in the Region, in the development of investment plans that will total as much as US$772 million.
“(By) mobilising resources to, among others, develop with the bank and Private Sector as well as public investment in priority areas defined by the territories and the Hand-in-Hand initiative. The Hand-in-Hand initiative has also launched two regional initiatives, namely the dry corridor initiative, which was launched at a Hand-in-Hand investment forum in 2022 and has been expanded,” he said.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony was Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, who noted the important role played by the FAO. As the Region continues to work closely with the FAO, Mustapha said the Organisation’s regional priorities and strategic endeavours must align more closely with the national and regional policies to support and enhance capabilities and knowledge.
“There is a need to improve initiative, financial support, and concrete action to increase the resilience and sustainability of the agri-food system to overcome the impacts of climate change and food insecurity in light of the Region’s high vulnerability,” he emphasised.

Mustapha further explained that the transition of the conference into the ministerial segment was set to foster even greater cooperation, strategies, and essential topics including sustainability, transformation, and food security, while addressing climate change issues for future plans.

The 38th session of the FAO Regional Conference for the LAC community, will last from March 18 to March 22.