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Guyana earns over $900M in export of non-traditional crops

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Guyana’s agricultural sector is booming, with non-traditional exports exceeding $919 million in the first half of 2024.

This represents a 12.7 per cent increase, with over 4,156 metric tonnes exported.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha made the disclosure during the New Guyana Marketing Corporation’s (GMC’s) annual award ceremony and dinner, at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

The minister said this surge is a direct result of the government’s strategic investments in boosting the agro-processing industry.

“This not only demonstrates the growing strength and diversity of our agricultural sector, but also open existing new doors for economic opportunities and global recognition for Guyana’s produce,” he said.

Cassava exports, for example, have seen a significant rise, with yields jumping from 18 to 30 tonnes per hectare, thanks to improved farming techniques.

The minister also commended the GMC’s ‘Guyana Shop’ initiative, which showcases over 3,000 locally-made products, supplying an additional marketing platform for processors, and highlighting the diversity and versatility of our local produce.

Initiatives such as these directly contribute to the national goal of boosting local production, leading to greater self-sufficiency. Additionally, these efforts support CARICOM’s 25 by 2025 agenda by significantly reducing regional import costs.

Recognising the challenges faced in the agro-processing industry with regards to the high cost of energy, the minister pointed to the gas to energy project, which is expected to come on stream in 2025.

“This project will not only produce inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides, but also develop better processing capacity due to the cheaper electricity that will be provided and the reliable electricity that we expect from this project,” he explained.

The minister added, “The government’s commitment to developing the agro-processing industry is our testament to our vision to becoming the leading agricultural powerhouse of the Caribbean. With continued investment and dedication of our agro-processors, this vision is well within our reach.”

To position Guyana at the centre of food production, the government is also investing some US$14 million in a regional food hub along the Soesdyke-Linden highway.

The hub will boost the food supply chain and production processes, enhancing elements such as food storage, manufacturing, and processing capability to improve market access.

Earlier this month, it was reported that construction works will soon commence, with an estimated cost of $625.2 million.

Phase one of the facility commenced in 2023 for $187 million, while Phase two works are set to continue this year.

“The government is working to improve logistics and transportation to move products produced in Guyana to the CARICOM region and beyond, developing a regional food hub… [and] the regional ferry service, which will be coming on stream shortly, promotes cross-border arrangements supporting food production and trade across the region,” Minister Mustapha said.

He noted that the total investment in the agriculture sector amounts to over $527 million for 2024.

“These funds are fuelling critical initiatives in infrastructural development, capacity building, and expanding market opportunities,” he added.

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