President Ali pushes ‘agritourism’ ventures for Demerara River communities 


In a bid to develop more income-generating activities in the communities found along the Demerara River, President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Saturday said the government is keen on supporting agritourism ventures.

The President visited several communities along the Demerara River on Saturday ahead of his journey to Linden, Region 10, for Guyana’s 58th Independence flag-raising ceremony.

And while in those communities, he engaged residents on issues they were facing. Economic opportunities were among the challenges discussed, prompting the President to outline his vision for a new, niche tourism venture: eco-agritourism.

“This Demerara River has tremendous tourism potential and we have to activate that potential but we have to link tourism to something else.

“And one of the easiest, the lowest-hanging fruit to link tourism here is eco-agro-based tourism where persons can come and we can develop maybe 20 acres of orchards and people can come to have fun in the orchard and they can come to pick fresh greens and vegetables and you pay for that,” the Guyanese Head of State told residents of Low Wood.

For context, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) defines agritourism as a type of tourism that involves visiting farms, old plantations, gastronomic festivals, or other agricultural businesses to experience rural life, culture, and food.

Further, the Institute noted that this type of tourism “combines agriculture and tourism to promote sustainable tourism, support local agriculture, and provide economic benefits to rural communities.”

Guyana is already well-recognised as a top ecotourism destination but the President believes other areas, like those communities along the Demerara River, can develop niche agritourism products leveraging the scenic landscapes there and agricultural production. And he said the government would support such ventures.

Outside of the agritourism ventures, the President also said the government will be supporting expanded food production ventures. In Sand Hill, for example, he told residents that the government would be willing to support the development of 60 acres of land so that the 30 or so families living in this community could get involved in highly intensive food production.

He, however, noted that the residents must be committed to working together and growing a specific crop since it will make their production more cost-effective.

“We want to do this thing in a bit scientific way so that we can improve the competitiveness and viability,” he said.

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