As Guyana seeks to continuously improve its agricultural sector and strengthen food security in the Caribbean, a new office for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) secretariat in Guyana was commissioned on Friday at the Ministry of Agriculture’s La Bonne Intention (LBI) Complex.
“This new office is another act to demonstrate our commitment to working and collaborating with our international partners to develop the sector,” MInister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said at the commissioning of the office.
He related that Guyana has a history of driving agriculture both in the Caribbean, wherein initiatives developed by the country have been adopted by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
In fact, he highlighted, “Our current President (Dr. Irfaan Ali) has put forward a document to advance the agriculture agenda and food security in the Caribbean that was recently adopted by the CARICOM Heads of Government.”
Following the adoption of that document, a Ministerial Task Force was developed and is being chaired by Guyana.
“I am very optimistic that with the help of the FAO and other partners, we can develop a strategy to advance our food security agenda and work to resolve the issues of food insecurity in the Caribbean,” he said.
In advancing the agricultural agenda in the region, Minister Mustapha underscored that the government will also continue to collaborate with organisations like the FAO, for guidance and input to advance the agenda.
“Guyana is once again taking its rightful place in the region in terms of pushing the agriculture agenda and food security,” the Agriculture Minister emphasised.
Meanwhile, FAO’s Country Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith related that the FAO has been examining how it can support and expand what the government is doing, and what the people of Guyana are doing in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and rural development.
“This building will help us to support and provide the kind of work and the quality of work required by Guyana. It is also a recognition of the importance that Guyana is increasingly playing in the Caribbean and it provides an opportunity for us to provide the kind of support that Guyana needs as it pursues its development agenda,” she said on Friday.
She also stated that the office space provided would provide FAO staffers with enough comfort to be more “effective and efficient” in their work.
She acknowledged that since 2007, through the host country agreement, Guyana has provided a space for the body to operate. She also said that as a UN agency, the FAO has been embedded with the Ministry of Agriculture, which is probably the FAO’s closest and most important partner in government.
The LBI Complex, where the FAO building is now located, also houses other agriculture agencies such as the Guyana Rice Development Board, the New Guyana Marketing Corporation and the Guyana Sugar Corporation. [Extracted and modified from the Department of Public Information]