Guyana – Barbados food terminal closer to realisation

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By Isaiah Braithwaite

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) –  The sod-turning ceremony for the new Guyana/Barbados food terminal in Barbados will soon take place, president, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has announced.

President Ali said the leadership of both countries have already expressed “our unwavering commitment to the removal of every barrier that will prevent trade between the two countries.”

Guyana and Barbados are working to create a joint tourism product, linking the two countries as a common market and package.

“Similar discussions are ongoing with Antigua, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and the rest of the region so that we prepare, not only the production and productive level of the farms and farmers in Guyana, but we also work on the low hanging fruit of the resale market,” the president stated.

According to Barbados’ Government Information Service,(BGIS) the seven acres of land earmarked for the construction of the food terminal at Lears, St Michael, will have a purpose-built facility to accommodate about 40 containers at any time; a reservoir holding 20 million gallons of water, and land for crop production.

Heads of government in CARICOM have all agreed that steps need to be taken to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025. President Ali said the target is one without a political or social agenda, but can only be done if governments, the farmers and the private sector all work together and embrace the vision.

Already, in Guyana, the government has embarked on a number of initiatives including the launching of the agriculture and innovation entrepreneurship programme – a flagship initiative that will see the establishment of 100 shade houses for the cultivation of three high-value crops.

Additionally, government recently launched a black belly sheep project in Region Five that will see 1,000 sheep arriving in Guyana shortly from Barbados to kickstart the project. Close to 80 farmers have since expressed their interest in the project with many more set to step on board, as Guyana seeks to tap into the US$48 million mutton market in CARICOM.

Sustainable hatching egg industry

Meanwhile, with Guyana importing approximately 52 million eggs each year at a cost of some $350 million, His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali said the country will soon launch its own hatching egg industry, to support the local poultry sector.

Speaking at the launch of the black belly sheep project in Region Five on Sunday, Dr Ali said “that is a low hanging fruit, that is a market we can capture.

“We are now looking at a project that will enable us to produce our hatching eggs all here in Guyana locally.”

The government will work with communities like St Cuthbert’s Mission, among other areas to be part of the massive project. This, he said, will ensure there is sustainable production of hatching eggs locally and eventually for the export market.

“These are the initiatives that are transformative in nature. These are the initiatives that will propel the economy, these are the initiatives that will bring direct benefits to the farmer and enhance our diversification programme, these are some of the initiatives that will ensure our economy is built on many pillars,” president Ali stated.

He said the government has started working with the large poultry producers in a consortium to produce their own corn and soya for the production of feed to support the poultry industry. This is part of the government’s plan for Guyana to become self-sufficient, as there are rising food prices and supply shortages.

Since taking office, the government has placed heavy emphasis on developing the agriculture sector through funding a number of initiatives. Budget 2022 has allotted $28.7 billion to ensure the rapid growth and development of Guyana’s agricultural sector.

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