Guyana, Brazil tout food production, removal of trade barriers to satisfy C’bbean market


Guyana has been tasked with leading food security efforts within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and a growing partnership with Brazil could see more food exports satisfying the regional market.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro visited Guyana on Friday in a delayed state visit. And following engagements with Guyanese President Dr. Irfaan Ali, both leaders affirmed their intent to boost food security efforts.

“The team is expected to work out an aggressive plan on the expansion of markets, the removal of barriers (and) how it is we can deploy new technologies,” President Ali said while providing remarks at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

Importantly, too, the Guyanese Head of State said that the two countries mulled the creation of a hub for processing produce; this hub could also be a transshipment point for the produce and agro-products to the rest of CARICOM.

President Ali further stated that Guyana’s strategic geographic location- at the northern border of South America, with direct access to the Caribbean- can attract investors.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Office of the President (Photo: Latchman Singh/May 6, 2022)

President Ali’s remarks come just days after Guyana’s planned collaboration with Brazil on some food security products were disclosed.

Guyana’s 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.

And the country’s Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha later confirmed this, stating that the import of these cows is part of a wider plan to develop the local dairy subsector.

Additionally, 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, tackling a US $55 million meat market; Brazil, he said, can be a key partner.

Neither President directly addressed these projects but the Brazilian leader touted his country’s efforts at growing wheat in the northern state of Roraima. This state is closest to Guyana.

“We stated that Brazil in a few years will be more than self-sufficient and will be able to export wheat to the whole world,” President Bolsonaro told reporters on Friday.

He added that though wheat production requires cold temperatures, the technology developed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Organization indicated that wheat production is “doable”.

Guyana started exploring the local production of wheat given the global shortage of the product, stemming from the Ukraine/ Russia crisis. With this shortage, too, global wheat prices have increased- prompting a ripple effect with hikes in the price of other products like flour.

With the first local trial a success, the minister recently told reporters that an open field trial is expected to commence shortly.

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