Guyana wants to increase vegetable production by 2025

A vegetable stall at a market in Georgetown

President Dr Irfaan Ali said his government is aggressively working to advance its current production of vegetables which stands at 324,000 metric tonnes to 400,000 metric tonnes by 2025.

Dr. Ali said the approach is part of a wider plan undertaken by government to ensure the nation’s food is secure and achieves Caricom’s 25 by 2025 target.

The Head of State was at the time giving welcoming remarks at the official opening ceremony of the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo, at the National Cultural Centre (NCC), on Thursday.

The Guyanese leader said the current production for corn and soya stands at 4,300 metric tonnes, and is projected to increase to 35,000 metric tonnes in the next three years. Significant efforts are also being made to move poultry production from 50,000 metric tonnes to 90,000 metric tonnes by 2025.

“To reduce our import bill, which is approximately US$13 million, we entered into partnership with our private sector, building consortium with our farmers and young people in the production of value, high value crops, corn and soya, special project for the young people to launch shade houses, a project we’re launching today for young people,” the President stressed.

He said an investment of $651 million has been allocated for the corn and soybean project, in an effort to support the consortium. “We are matching the targets with the incentives and investment from government.”

More than $100 million has also been invested in the brackish water shrimp production, which increased from 250,000 kilograms just a year ago to 1.2 million kilograms in one year. The administration is looking to invest another $150 million to boost production by more than 50 percent.

Some $200 million will be injected to develop farms for Pacific white leg shrimp. Another $40 million will be invested to conduct research on developing breed programmes on indigenous commercially viable freshwater species.

“Wheat and other important areas are in global threat right now because of the war in Ukraine. We have embarked on research to see whether there is a variety of wheat that can be planted in Guyana to meet our national needs and then to further expand to regional needs. So far, this have seen tremendous success in the trials.”

President Ali said heavy investment is being made in logistics for the infrastructure of farm to market roads, and other key infrastructure to support the effort. Also, in partnership with the Barbados’ Government, Guyana will soon launch a new terminal there.

“We are expecting 1000 Black Belly Sheep from Barbados to boost our production. We have earmarked one of our regions as a livestock capital of Guyana and the region. The two countries have agreed on a shade house initiative, which will see a setting up of 50 shade houses in Barbados.

The opportunities we are looking at in the future includes investing in marine case technology in the riverine areas starting with cases for tilapia and tambaqui – two different breed of fishes that are becoming very popular here,” the Head of State noted.

Further, the administration wants to establish a fertiliser production plant locally as an offshoot of the gas to energy project so that it could help input costs.

To encourage agro-processing, the government intends to reduce the cost of energy by 50 percent by 2025, which will boost agro-processing and help us in this regard.

Major consideration is also being explored to tap into the global industrial hemp market which will reach US $12.01 billion by 2028. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]