Guyana is the third largest agricultural economy in the Caribbean, and a huge percentage of produce generated in the country is not consumed.
This was revealed by Ministry of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha during a national dialogue in preparation for the UN Food Systems Summit.
Minister Mustapha noted that actions will be taken to reduce local food waste by implementing new policies and technology.
With the establishment of the Guyana Food Safety Authority, food safety will also be addressed.
“One of the main challenges that Guyana faces is food waste and loss. Estimates indicate that 20% of cassava, 32% of tomatoes and 30% of all fruits and vegetables produced in the country are not consumed,” the Minister disclosed.
“We will seek to reduce and form a post-harvest food waste and loss by promoting the adaptation of harvesting, post-harvest and storage technologies that reduce food loss,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister noted that Guyana can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 that were outlined by the United Nations General Assembly for a sustainable future.
“We have a history of recognising challenges and addressing those challenges…To overcome these challenges and achieve inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity in Guyana, we must have a clear vision for Guyana’s food system and actionable solution that will lead us along a sustainable development pathway by 2030,” the Minister underscored.
He pointed out that significant improvement has been made in achieving the SDGs – a reflection in the improvement of livelihoods and reducing the poverty rate every year.
“We have reduced the number of persons living in extreme income poverty to less than three percent of the national population. GDP per capita has risen more than 1300 per cent over the last 30 years and increased income of the country and its people have generally resulted in improvements across most of the SDGs. Guyana still has many challenges in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The challenges are many but solutions are also within our reach.”