Guyana-led shade house project in CARICOM to tap into US Gov’t funds


Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali proposed a new project to boost food production across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and regional leaders backed this plan as the means of tapping into the US$28 million sum promised by the United States government.

The project is entitled: “Building food security through innovation, resilience, sustainability and empowerment.”

And part of the project involves the use of hydroponics – a form of farming that typically involves using little to no soil. It can be done in shade houses where the conditions for growth can be controlled.

“(The project) is also to be presented as a plan to the US to access the funds they promised to us,” the incumbent CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis said on Friday.

That money was pledged after President Ali and four other Caribbean leaders met with US Vice President Kamala Harris last September. It is meant to push short-term food production.

Earlier in the day, Guyana’s Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha announced that this plan was presented by President Ali during the CARICOM Intersessional Heads of Government meeting held in the Bahamas. And according to him, all leaders backed the plan.

Prime Minister Davis also announced that Guyana pledged US$2 million to help boost regional food production efforts.

Guyana has the lead responsibility for agriculture in the CARICOM quasi-cabinet and over the last two years, the country has been leading the charge to reduce the region’s massive food production bill by 25 per cent by 2025. Growing more food in the region and increasing intra-regional trade is a major part of that agenda.

And on Friday, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that there has been much progress over the past 18 months on this agenda.

She, however, acknowledged that much more needs to be done especially as it relates to the removal of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that constrain food trade in the region.

These barriers are rules and procedures that governments use to ensure that foods and beverages are safe to consume and to protect animals and plants from pests and diseases.

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