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Guyana adopting approach to tailor projects specific to needs and priorities, in alignment with regional realities and perspectives to achieve food security

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Foreign Secretary Mr. Robert Persaud received a three-member team from the International Trade Center (ITC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The team comprised Mr. Hernan Manson- Head of Inclusive Agribusiness Systems, Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou- Senior Advisor on Investment and Food Systems and Mr. Benjamin Morrison- Associate Programme Officer (Alliance for Action).

The ITC team is currently in Guyana on a scoping mission to assess the inception phase of potential projects to be explored and developed under a European Union funded initiative entitled “Strengthening nutritious and sustainable value chains in the Caribbean through alliances.” The goals of the initiative seek to align with the EU international partnership priorities, as well as the CARICOM 25×25 initiative being led by Guyana. The ITC is one of the implementing partners of the projects, and as such, scoping missions are being conducted to assess priorities of private and public sector value chain stakeholders and potential activities that respond to national and CARICOM region needs.

During the meeting the team enlightened the Foreign Secretary about the purpose of their mission and recalled the role of ITC in earlier projects in Guyana related to the production of coconuts and cassava processing. While the initiative is attributed to the CARICOM region, there would be a more focused approach to ascertain the priorities of Guyanese companies, including small and medium business enterprises. To that end, the team would be engaging the relevant stakeholders in Guyana to garner a better understanding of priorities through dialogue and data and statistical analysis. It is anticipated that ten to fifteen companies would be selected once they meet the outlined requirements including a clear indication of how they intend to contribute to the region’s food security efforts and to the improvement of the socio-economic well-being of citizens.

The Foreign Secretary welcomed the initiative which is timely given Guyana’s role in the national, regional and international efforts in achieving food security. He informed that the Government of Guyana is adopting an approach which seeks to align national projects with regional perspectives and realities, to ensure better coordination and to avoid duplication of efforts. In this regard, he urged the team to bear this in mind and to ensure that interventions are tailored to suit specific needs and priorities. The Foreign Secretary also encouraged the team to consider providing technical assistance to enhance the capacity of agencies to deal with challenges associated with trade barriers that often hinder Guyana’s realization of its full trade potential.

The Foreign Secretary was accompanied by officers from the Ministry’s Trade Department, including Ambassador Neville Totaram and Mr. Paul Kalekyezi.

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