Gov’t facilities, regional hubs to support agro-processors soon – Pres. Ali

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Guyana’s agriculture sector boasts enormous potential for local businesses and entrepreneurs and with targeted efforts to expand the sector, increased packaging and processing of raw produce is anticipated.

To support this expansion in value added products, President Dr Irfaan Ali has promised to supply the resources needed to build agri-business incubators.

The goal, Dr Ali said, is to target regional small and medium scale production. And so, there are plans to establish regional and sub-regional hubs for agro-processors.

“For the agro-processors to be successful, we have to be able to mobilise them under a common roof and provide them with the technology, the knowledge and the support service to allow them to be successful, to allow them to grow and then to allow them to expand,” President Ali said during an annual dinner hosted by the Guyana Marketing Corporation Tuesday night.

A sector of the gathering at the Guyana Marketing Corporation first annual Awards ceremony and dinner (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture/June 26, 2024)

The hubs, President Ali said, will be developed in every region with specialized facilities for various products, depending on the competitive advantage.

“We are going to put processing facilities to now take off the increase in the production that will come up to give the product longer life processing but higher value but importantly give us ease in the transportation logistics of moving products,” President Ali said.

The plan forms part of the government’s “massive” agriculture investment plan that is being rolled out across the country, which not only focuses on introducing products but also sustaining markets.

Another important aspect, President Ali highlighted, is a collaboration with the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) to improve processing and packaging of products.

Due to the high demand, the government will be investing in cold storage and vacuum packaging for pre-cooked and pre-packaged food.

“As the government embarks on this investment plan, it requires the participants in the industry to relook and rethink at your own strategy, moving away from the individual to the collective.

The Guyana Marketing Corporation awarded several persons for their contribution in the agriculture sector at their annual Awards and dinner (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture /June 26, 2024)

“The productive capacity is not there to sustain the long term market that we are building. There has been no time in the history of our country where we have invested so much in agriculture and realising the full potential of agriculture,” President Ali said.

Meanwhile, General Manager of the Guyana Marketing Corporation, Teshawna Lall said the increase in production and export of local produces and products will subsequently lead to the decrease of import of certain food items contributing to the reduction of the food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.

Since 2020, Lall said agro-processors have increased from 116 to 283, both independently and through agro-processing facilities across the country.

And to encourage and assist agro-processors, Lall said the Guyana Marketing Corporation have invested approximately $468M to establish agro-processing facilities and solar dryers throughout the country.

To further promote their products, some 90 Guyana Shop corners have been established locally.

“These corners have enabled agro-processors to access markets that would have been difficult to reach on their own,” Lall said.

At Tuesday’s event, a number of individuals were awarded for their contribution in the sector.

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