Almost 300 hundred participants, including regional businesses and organisations, along with investors from across the world have, already registered and will converge in Georgetown next week for the first-ever Agri – Investment Forum and Expo.
The event will be held at the Arthur Chung Conference Center (ACCC) from May 19 to 21, 2022.
Dubbed a regional event in keeping with CARICOM’s aim to reduce its food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, several regional Heads of Government and Agriculture Ministers will join the private sector to give political impetus to the goal.
On Monday, a stakeholder planning meeting and on-site inspection were conducted at the ACCC at the end of which Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapa said he was satisfied with the progress made to date.
He said most of the registered participants are overseas even as he confirmed that seven CARICOM Heads have indicated their intention to travel to Guyana for the forum and expo.
Some 75 exhibitors have booked booths but Mustapha hopes these numbers will grow as the event nears.
Investors from as far as Israel, Ghana, Cameroon, North America and the Caribbean have already indicated their participation.
“This investment forum is the first of its kind in CARICOM and I think the response we have received is massive and it shows the Caribbean needed this… it will be a continuous process to ensure that we always have investment,” Mustapha added.
He said the forum and expo will provide the platform to “match capital with asset, match capital with partners in Caribbean countries to reduce the high regional food import bill.”
He said coming out of this event will be major investments in the priority crops and commodities identified by CARICOM.
Guyana Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) are fully on board even as the government engages other external agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
President of the PSC, Paul Cheong told reporters on Monday that the local private sector is excited about the event as it will afford Guyana the opportunity to truly develop its agriculture potential to the benefit of the entire region.
The aim is to promote and improve the productivity and resilience of the region’s agriculture food systems.