By Caribbean News Global contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) secretariat in Guyana commissioned its office Friday, May 14, at the ministry of agriculture’s La Bonne Intention (LBI) Complex, in Guyana, DPI reported. This follows His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali, [on Monday], who reiterated the importance of agriculture and food production, and a government that is open to doing business, delivered an address to approximately 150 US companies interested in doing business in Guyana, at the second edition of the Business Webinar Series to US businesses, organised by the United States Department of Commerce and the US Embassy in Guyana.
“This new office is another act to demonstrate our commitment to working and collaborating with our international partners to develop the sector. We’ve been working very closely with our international partners and you can testify to the gains we’ve been making in agriculture. Guyana is once again taking its rightful place in the region in terms of pushing the agriculture agenda and food security,” minister for agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha explained.
“Guyana has a history and a legacy for pushing agriculture in the Caribbean and CARICOM. Our former president developed the ‘Jagdeo’s Initiative’ that was adopted by CARICOM. Those points are still relevant today. Our current president has put forward a document to advance the agriculture agenda and food security in the Caribbean that was recently adopted by the CARICOM heads of government. As a result of that, a ministerial task force was developed that is being chaired by Guyana, and I am very optimistic that with the help of the FAO and other partners, we can develop a strategy to advance our food security agenda and work to resolve the issues of food insecurity in the Caribbean,” he said.
FAO’s Country Representative, Dr Gillian Smith said the new space would provide an enabling environment for the staff to support the work required in Guyana from the FAO.
“The ministry has consented and provided us with this new office space. We’ve been able to create a space that, I believe, is very good for the staff and provides us with enough comfort so that we can be more effective and efficient in what we are doing. The government of Guyana has provided, through the host country agreement with FAO since 2007, a space for us to operate. Importantly, as a UN agency, we have been embedded with the ministry of agriculture, which is probably the closest and most important partner that we have in the government. Ever since we’ve been in Guyana,” she continued.
“This building will help us to support and provide the kind of work and the quality of work required by Guyana. It is also a recognition of the importance that Guyana is increasingly playing in the Caribbean and it provides an opportunity for us to provide the kind of support that Guyana needs as it pursues its development agenda.”