Following a week of negotiations with Demerara Bank Limited, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Friday announced the imminent rollout of several loans that will be accessible to small poultry farmers to aid them in getting back into production.
During a poultry symposium hosted by the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Ali noted that an oft-repeated concern of poultry farmers had been the need for low-cost financing to aid their production.
“We have arrived at the position of loans $500,000 and less for small farmers [at] a 3.5 per cent interest rate; [loans] between $500,000 and $1 million [at an interest rate of] 4 per cent … [and loans] between $1 and $5 million at a 5.5 per cent interest rate,” Ali explained.
He added that a system is also being put in place to expedite the process for farmers seeking loans totalling $1 million or less.
“Importantly, with a mechanism that we will set up – that includes the Poultry Association, the GLDA, the Agriculture and Finance Ministries, and the bank – for those [signing up for loans] $1 million and less, [the agencies] will look at using letter of assignment, that is if you’re doing contract farming for someone else, as part of the collateral basis to give you those loans, to expedite the pace at which the loans will be granted,” the President added.
From Monday through Wednesday, poultry farmers can return to the ACCC to begin processing their loans. The President noted that the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) and the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) will facilitate this process alongside the bank.
GLDA’s poultry symposium saw the presence of a number of poultry farmers from across the country, as well as Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, Guyana Poultry Producers Association (GPPC) Chairman David Fernandes and GLDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Dwight Waldron.
This symposium comes a week after a meeting between President Ali and several small, medium, and large-scale poultry farmers at State House, during which discussions had surrounded the current state of the poultry industry, positioning the sector as more competitive and addressing the type of support the Government can provide.
During Friday’s broader discussion on these topics, President Ali remarked that the poultry sector in Guyana must be rebuilt to become more resilient, sustainable, viable, and profitable.
While poultry production is expected to increase globally by 7 per cent in 2023 and is projected to increase by 6 per cent annually until 2025, challenges persist.
These come in the form of pandemic-related and Ukraine-Russia war-associated supply chain disruptions and restricted movement, and concerns surrounding contamination, disease outbreak, and climate change.
President Ali added that rising input costs is another major concern within the poultry industry, with the cost of rice as an input to feed increasing by 100 per cent, soya as an input to feed increasing by 65 per cent, and corn as an input to feed increased by 55 per cent, since 2020.
He remarked that transport and logistics is a major contributing factor to this issue.
“We cannot build a sustainable, resilient, and viable industry if we don’t control this cost. We can eliminate the transport and logistics cost by building up our own capacity and increasing our own yield and production,” Ali said.
He reiterated that by 2026, Guyana is expected to be self-sufficient in its production of corn and soya.
Meanwhile, in seeking to increase production, he stated a need to also increase cold storage capacities in the country. (Pooja Rambarran)