Guyana importing 2,000 cows from Brazil in bid to cut $30M dairy imports

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At the end of last year, Guyana spent about $30 million importing dairy products but the country is now pursuing a multifaceted strategy to satisfy all dairy and livestock needs locally.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, during a recent outreach activity in Region Five (Mahaica- Berbice), announced that the country would soon import 2,000 milking cows from Brazil.

This was confirmed on Wednesday by Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, who explained that the import of these cows are part of a wider plan to develop the local dairy subsector.

“…we are seeking investors in Brazil to purchase dairy cattle in Brazil to bring to them because we have a lot of interest in Guyana,” Minister Mustapha told reporters at the sidelines of an event.

Already, a $150 million milk farm is being established at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice. Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) is also working alongside LR Group, an Israeli company, to establish the Caribbean region’s most advanced dairy farm in Guyana.

And these two projects, Mustapha explained, are among the initiatives generating demand for more cows in Guyana. And he emphasised that Guyana hopes to be self-sufficient in this regard- ably meeting local demand and cutting a high import bill.

In fact, he related that almost $30 million is spent on importing dairy products annually.

Importantly, Mustapha said that the plans to develop the local dairy industry is part of a wider plan to increase local livestock production. Through this plan, Mustapha reminded reporters that Guyana is partnering with Barbados on a new black belly sheep initiative that is expected to increase local mutton production.

Last week, the government gifted farmers dual-purpose black giant chicks. These birds will be used for both eggs and meat.

Meanwhile, during a recent visit to the United Kingdom (UK), President Dr. Irfaan Ali told foreign investors that Guyana is hoping to increase the production of livestock and mutton. In so doing, he said that the country will be tapping into a sizable meat market– valued at some US $55 million (or GY $11.5 billion) annually.

At a press conference earlier this year, President Ali also announced plans to integrate single mothers into the plans to expand the local dairy sector.

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