Lethem residents urged to diversify to increase income

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President David Granger has urged exhibitors and local farmers to pursue value added products to increase their income.

Delivering his address at the Lethem Public Market, in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) for the second annual Regional Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE), he noted that “as long as you continue simply producing raw materials for export, you will remain poor.”

“The rich countries are the ones that manufacture and process and the poor countries are the ones which produce the raw materials,” he said, according to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency.

President Granger reminded that it is the state of the economy which defines life.

“So, in the Rupununi now, we have to redefine the way we make our life, living, our livelihood.  That is to say, we have to start factories, start to see restaurants, accounting firms and law firms when we walk through the streets of Lethem and then we would know people are making a living in a different way,” he said.

The Head of State urged the Region to implement the Plan of Action for Regional Development (PARD) which was introduced by his administration.

PARD is a new initiative which will assist the 10 Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) in developing, implementing, monitoring and assessing appropriate action-oriented plans for the social and economic advancement of the respective regions.

He reminded too that “development is for all of society” and all tiers of government (local, regional and

“These RACE are extremely important not only here but all over the country.  It doesn’t call for government alone, it calls for all levels [of government] and civil society and the Regional Chamber of Commerce,” he said.

President Granger then assured the gathering that his government will do everything that it can to assist the Regional Chambers of Commerce to remove obstacles and facilitate business.

Moreover, the Head of State said critical to the success of the entrepreneurs, is education and the knowledge to not only prepare the products, but market them as well.

Meanwhile, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock, expressed similar sentiments, noting that the RACE can help to secure food security across the country, especially as the effects of climate change become more pronounced.

Since its inception, RACE, the brainchild of President Granger, has been expanding as farmers across the country have started to recognise the value of the initiative.

RACE was introduced to promote agricultural development and to encourage citizens, including those in the hinterland, to better market their products.

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