President Dr Irfaan Ali this morning announced an initiative that will see the cost of financing for poultry farmers being lowered – a move that is aimed at supporting Government’s drive towards food security through the diversification of the local agricultural sector.
Addressing stakeholders in the poultry sector at State House, the Head of State disclosed that at least four commercial banks in Guyana have agreed to reduce their interest rates on loans to poultry farmers/operators from 8% to now 5%. Small, medium, and large-scale farmers are expected to benefit from this 3% lowered interest rate.
“We will introduce a facility under which the interest income earned by commercial banks on loans granted to the poultry sector will be free of corporate income tax. This now will enable commercial banks to lower their interest rate, the charge to the poultry sector by almost 3%; from 8% to about 5%.”
“I’ve concluded discussions with a number of commercial banks… Citizens Bank, Republic Bank, Demerara Bank, and GBTI would have all agreed that the interest rate as a result of this measure by the government will be reduced from 8% to 5%. That is a 3% reduction in your interest rate,” the President explained.
He went onto to add that poultry farmers and operators with existing loans at these four banks will also benefit from this new lowered interest rate from next month.
“This latest measure represents the latest step taken by the government to promote food production, increase food supply, and reduce the costs of basic food items to the final consumer… I’m very pleased that all the commercial banks I mentioned have already taken the decision to fully participate and to move towards the reduction in interest rate almost instantaneously as this measure takes effect, now bringing down the effective interest rate for the poultry sector.”
“And this is the poultry sector across the board. All investors in poultry and poultry sector would benefit from this. I therefore now encourage all the farmers and stakeholders in this sector to take advantage of the benefits that will arise from the reduced cost of financing that will now be available to the sector,” Ali stated.
According to the President, this decision was taking following weeks of consultation with different stakeholders.
This initiative follows a number of other interventions taken by the Ali-led Administration to boost the local poultry industry.
Only earlier this month, the Head of State met with stakeholders in the poultry sector during which he announced the availability of loans from Demerara Bank to small poultry farmers to aid them in getting back into production.
In efforts to develop the sector, he also announced an intervention to assist the poultry industry with $29M worth of vaccines as well as allocation of some 25,000 acres of land for the production of rice to be used as feed.