A team of four specialists from Cuba will be coming to Guyana to help indigenous communities develop and expand honey production and the government has offered to train 150 persons from these communities in the areas of agriculture and food security.
This announcement was made by President Dr Irfaan Ali on Friday as he addressed indigenous leaders who are participating in the annual National Toshaos Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
“We have just yesterday (Thursday) agreed to invest in four specialists from Cuba who will come to Guyana, to work with you in the communities in building out the honey industry and expanding the industry and we want to create a common brand of honey that is associated with Guyana’s rainforest that can be marketed as a specialised product,” President Ali said.
The announcement was greeted with loud applause from those gathered.
He said the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) will also be working with the Ministry of Agriculture in launching an initiative to support organic honey production.
Agriculture has been identified as one of the areas of priority for the indigenous communities, and according to President Ali, $300 million will be allocated in next year’s budget to develop food security and agriculture in these communities.
Further, President Ali said a unit will also be set up to deal with hinterland food security and production.
And to support the advancement of the sector, he said the government will be training 150 Amerindians who will return to serve their respective communities.
“We want you, every single region, to identify young people, yourselves, who can be trained to become vets, agriculture support staff, extension officers and we are going to train them, we are going to pay for their training and send them back to the communities to work full time with you,” President Ali said.
He added, “We are willing to immediately train 150 of your young people, from your regions and your communities in these areas to support food production, food security and agriculture expansion.”
Additionally, the Head of State noted that the investment will be supported by a very “robust” programme to expand the production of traditional products in Region One.
“We are also working with external markets to have long-term arrangements for large-scale production of sweet cassava to meet those external market needs. So before the end of the year, in selected communities, the Ministry of Agriculture will be consulting with you on supporting the development of large-scale cassava production to meet those external markets,” President Ali said.