Gas-to-shore energy project will optimise more investment opportunities in Guyana’s agri. Industry – Min. Mustapha

With the emergence of the gas-to-shore energy project which will have a major impact on the country’s economy, more sustainable investment opportunities will be optimised in Guyana’s agriculture sector.

This was emphasised by Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha during the panel discussion themed ‘Investing in Guyana: Growing Opportunities’ during day three of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo, on Wednesday, at the Marriott Hotel, in Kingston Georgetown. 

(second from left): Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha speaking during the panel discussion

Guyana continues to meet its food security needs by undertaking several lucrative projects such as the cultivation of zinc enriched, agro-processing, bio-fortified rice, high-value crops, sugar production, cultivation of spices, brackish water shrimp, and freshwater prawns, among others. 

“These opportunities will be tremendous for us. And right here in the Caribbean, the opportunities exist for us. We are working now to remove the non-tariff barriers so that produce around the Caribbean can move freely…So, if you want to invest, Guyana is the place to invest…” Minister Mustapha informed the conference.

Agro-processing remains vital to the growth of the agricultural industry since it aids in the advancement of food security and enhances the lives of many Guyanese.

Persons attending the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo on Wednesday, at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston Georgetown.

While outlining the opportunities in the sub-sectors,Minister Mustapha explained, “We have large amounts of fruits and vegetables that can be processed. We want to go into value addition. We have started it over the last three years. With the coming of the gas-to-shore energy project, we want to intensify that. There are lots of opportunities for us to do processing to ensure that we process and add value to these products because, in the Caribbean, there is a $2 billion market for agro-processing products that we are importing from Europe and North America.”

From January to November 2023, Guyana exported 8,926 metric tonnes of non-traditional agricultural commodities worth $1.8 billion.

In the Caribbean, Guyana has the largest hydroponics farm where 100 plantlets are always accessible.

This undertaking will be extended in Regions Two, Five, and Ten, to produce all the leafy vegetables and spices that are in high demand in the region.

CARICOM, Minister Mustapha noted, has prioritised 11 commodities to help in lowering the region’s food import bill by the end of 2025.

 “The food import bill that we are trying to reduce is between US$6 billion to US$8 billion. Imagine that investment that we are talking about. We are sitting on an investment in the Caribbean, especially in Guyana, where we are producing almost all the primary products. We now have to add value to it and also, we have to ensure that we produce it in larger quantities,” he added.

In the livestock industry, a state-of-the-art abattoir that is being constructed at Onverwagt, Region Five will modernise Guyana’s meat processing capabilities and create new markets.

Guyana has almost 400 shade houses across the country that produce high-value crops like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers, among others. 

Shade house cultivation continues to generate more revenue and employment in the country, as many young people are involved in this project.

The minister also outlined the various mechanisation that are being undertaken to ramp up the production of sugar and rice.

Modern policies are being crafted to expand on existing and new cutting-edge programmes in the aquaculture and fishing industry. 

Guyana is also building a tissue culture laboratory, which is expected to be completed soon, to produce one million annually. 

Agriculture continues to dominate the country’s economic landscape, as it continues to be a driver by contributing almost 24 per cent to the non-oil gross domestic product (GDP). 

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