Mustapha touts restart of coffee, cocoa production, expansion of other agri projects

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In efforts to slash the food import bill, Guyana will soon expand multiple ongoing projects, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said at the World Food Day observance ceremony on Sunday.

The theme for World Food Day was “Leave no one behind”, a theme that Mustapha said aligns with the Government of Guyana’s commitment to better production, nutrition, environment and life for all.

“Championing food security and leaving no one behind requires different actions from the business as usual. Exceptional times call for exceptional action. Guyana’s agriculture sector will be expanded diversified and modernize and aid resilience to be a competitive sector in Guyana and CARICOM,” the Minister said.

Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha during his speech on World Food Day (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture)

He said the Government of Guyana is implementing plans and projects to expand the agriculture sector to address needs at the local, regional and international scale.

As such, he detailed projects that will assist with reducing the country’s food import bill. He said that Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is heading a project to re-start coffee and cocoa production here. He also said some 60 Brahman cattle arrived in Guyana on Saturday as part of the promised amount needed for boosting the current stock in the country.

There will also be an increase of agriculture inputs distributed per year. This in

From Left: Country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr Gillian Smith, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, Country Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Wilmot Garnett pose with locally packaged foods. (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture)

cludes planting material, breeding stocks, fingerlings and agro-chemicals.

Further, the Ministry hopes to have an increase of rice production by 25 per cent by 2025, an increase of sugar production to 100,000 metric ton by 2025 with the opening of new lands for cultivation.

The cultivation of onions is also being assessed to boost the country’s onion production and he reminded that several farms inclusive of the hemp farms, wheat production, soya bean and corn are ongoing and are expected to undergo massive expansions.

Mustapha also said the coconut industry will also undergo further expansion.

He also reminded that the ministry has embarked on establishing international standard beef and swine abattoirs Region six and at Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara, respectively.

The Agriculture sector is also creating jobs for vulnerable groups and young people, the Minister noted. He said a 40 per cent increase in youth farmers is expected with many of them thus far showing interest in the industry through the Agricultural and Innovative Entrepreneurship programme. There is also a project under the ministry that will create job opportunities especially for single mothers, he said.

“These are some of the projects we are implementing so far and there are many more projects that will come on stream.

“The current strategies and policies of the agriculture sector is interlinked with the Government’s manifesto of making agriculture attractive and thriving for everyone,” Mustapha said.

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