Guyana can produce barley for Caribbean, North American markets – President


As Guyana invests in technology to improve food production to satisfy local and regional demands, the country’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali said on Tuesday that the country is capable of producing enough barley for export.

President Ali told a virtual Caribbean agri-food investors conference that Guyana has been examining the viability of producing high-value crops that have not been traditionally grown.

Those include corn, soya, wheat and barley.

Already, production of corn and soya has started in Guyana while wheat trials have been ongoing. Now, the President believes the country can also produce barley.

“We have a lot of land that can have high production of barley that can satisfy the regional demand and (be exported) north,” Dr. Ali said.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali.( Photo: Office of the President/ May 09, 2023)

And he explained that investments in technology, as opposed to relying on traditional agricultural practices, are essential to growing these new, high-value crops.

Beyond the food that can be produced in Guyana, President Ali continued to lament the challenges that constrain food production and trade in the region. These challenges, he explained, forces the region to seek costly food imports from extra-regional markets.

The region’s multi billion-dollar annual food import bill has been a cause for concern of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Guyana is now leading efforts to slash this food import bill by pushing regional food production and trade as the lead head of government with responsibility for agriculture in CARICOM’s quasi-cabinet.

To support these efforts, President Ali says Caribbean states and investors must change trade patterns, capitalising on exports from northern Brazil. In fact, he said that food produced in northern Brazil can be transported through Guyana and sent to other Caribbean countries in about 72 hours.

Regional transport logistics- what he described as one of the region’s “greatest bugbears”- has to be fixed, however.

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