Young people tapping into multi-billion-dollar vegetable market; potential for millions in profits
In just three years, from 2018 to 2020, Guyana imported about $6 billion in carrots, broccoli and cauliflower but a new youth agricultural initiative could see young people earning millions of dollars by producing those vegetables locally.
This was highlighted by President Dr. Irfaan Ali as he launched the government’s new Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme on Tuesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.
This programme, the President explained, is geared at boosting Guyana’s agricultural sector, focusing specialised markets that remain largely untapped. The production of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are high-value crops being targeted initially.
Through this programme, the government will provide all the resources and materials to develop 25 shade houses in the first phase that will be used to house thousands. Members of the private sector will also be involved.
According to data compiled by multi-agency stakeholders, there could be 1,000 plants per shade house and about 3,000 pounds of produce could be harvested three times a year from each shade house.
“You’re talking here about a business that can generate- in a net sense, using these three crops- close to $60 or $70 million annually and this is just phase one,” the Head-of-State told a gathering of young agricultural enthusiasts, students and producers.
Additionally, Dr. Ali said that there is empirical evidence to support production of these vegetables.
According to him, Guyana spent about $1.5 billion importing broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in 2018; in 2019, that figure increased to $1.9 billion and then in 2020, that figure rose to $2.6 billion.
And since there is an evident demand for these vegetables, the President told the young people that little effort and money would be needed to market the produce.
“…. it’s a natural market, they don’t have to use any money for marketing because the people who would be buying would be your advisors.
“So it is from farm to consumer,” he posited.
It is expected that this project will be rolled out across all regions of Guyana, offering young people everywhere the opportunity to grow more food and profit from Guyana’s aim to satisfy local and regional food demands.
And with this programme, a new ‘One Guyana’ should be registered. The young people involved in the programme are expected to become shareholders in the company.
This launch comes only days after President Ali met with three students from the University of Guyana (UG): Teesha Mangra-Singh, Crystal Charles and Maleka Russell.
Then, he promised that the government would provide the resources (land and finances) to help young people interested in agriculture. And on Tuesday, he entrusted much of the new programme’s responsibility to these three young women.
He also asked that young people be committed to the programme since the government is making significant investments to guarantee its success.