Guyana’s agriculture sector making massive strides – Pres. Ali

With a concerted focus on boosting productivity and diversifying crops, the government initiatives are geared towards strengthening the agricultural sector, positioning it as a critical driver of national growth.

During a press conference on Thursday, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali highlighted these achievements and underscored the administration’s vision to position Guyana as a global leader in food security.

Guyana’s rice production is on track to meet and potentially exceed this year’s target of 710,000 tonnes.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

With over 356,000 metric tonnes already recorded, the country is making significant progress.

The 2024 budget has set an ambitious target of producing 10,000 tonnes of sugar, and President Ali expressed strong optimism, attributing this confidence to the industry’s current momentum.

“In 2023, we have recorded significant growth of 60,000 tonnes which represents a 28 per cent growth compared to 2022. We expect to produce 800,000 tonnes of cane for the second crop which will begin by the second week of July,” the president underscored.

President Ali further stated, “We are continuing the land conversion and modernisation project across the industry. We have already converted over 12,500 hectares of land which is 40 per cent of the total land on the cultivation for mechanised planting and harvesting.”

To expand the production of value-added sugar products, new packaging plants are under construction at Albion and Blairmont Sugar Estate.

Innovation is a cornerstone of Guyana’s agricultural strategy. The sector is embracing new technologies to enhance operations, such as the use of Drones for efficient fertilisation and agrochemical application, which reduces costs and improves productivity.

President Ali said public-private partnerships are being strengthened to advance these efforts.

“We have 12 specialists from Cuba helping the country and seven technical persons are expected from India. These persons are specialised in mechanisation, field management, agro-management, and crop management. We also have factory managers who are coming to be embedded in the system to support the modernisation and transformation of the sugar industry,” he said.

Aquaculture

The president also pointed to advancements in hydroponics and aquaculture, explaining that this diversification agenda is reaping tangible results.

“All of this will improve our competitiveness, enhance our competitiveness, and create great opportunities,” President Ali asserted.

In 2023, brackish water shrimp production soared by 54 per cent, when compared to 2022.

And according to President Ali, there was a 755 per cent increase in production from 2021 to 2023.

“From 112,000 kg to almost a million kg. The target is to achieve a production of 1.5 million kg by 2025,” he highlighted.

This is also the case for the Prawns Project at Onverwagt, Region 5, where 10 ponds are expected to become operational.  

“The objective here is to prove this model to the banking sector. Once we prove this model to the banking sector, we are going to deploy 100 acres of land in the Onverwagt area to young people, 35 per cent of which we want to be women,” the president explained.  

Tremendous progress has also been made in coconut production, which has increased by 50 per cent.

The plan aims to position Guyana as a leading coconut exporter, with the government prioritising this high-value market.

“We want to have 450 hectares cultivated. So far, we have private sector investment of close to US$3 million,” the head of state noted.

Guyana is also well on track to becoming self-sufficient in black-eye and red beans by the end of 2026, while boosting its corn and soya production to meet the annual target of 25,000 acres.

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