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Guyana Leading CARICOM’s Effort to Reduce Food Import Bill Says Agriculture Minister

Guyana has been leading the ambitious CARICOM programme to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25% by the year 2025.

According to Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, significant progress has already been made in reaching the regional goal.

CARICOM’s annual food import bill stands at around US$5 Billion.

In a statement to mark the start of Agriculture month, the Agriculture Minister said that while CARICOM members states have so far achieved overall 57% of the target towards vision 25 by 2025, there is still lots more to be done in order to achieve the vision in the next two years.

“With Guyana being a key contributor to achieve vision 25 by 2025 and poised to be the food hub of the CARICOM Region, we are cognizant of the development that is needed in the Agriculture sector. As such approximately 4% of the National budget was allocated to Agriculture in 2023,” the Agriculture Minister noted.

The Agriculture Minister explained that significant investment is needed to increase production and to transform agro-food systems in order to achieve food security.

In the case of Guyana he said, the government is looking to form new partnerships with regional and international financial institutions and investors to address the concern of food security and the threat of climate change.

“The government continues to invest in opening up new agriculture lands, building farm-to-market roads, establishing modern farms, upgrading infrastructure, constructing agro-processing facilities, and encouraging the production of non-traditional agriculture commodities.

With those expansions, Mr. Mustapha said, several agriculture sub-sectors such as forestry and fishing are set to expand by 7.2%.

Further, the Agriculture Minister said is also seeking to expand cultivation and production to reduce imports and increase exports to foster diversification while seeking to implement several innovative measures to drive sustainable productions.

Source: News Source