By Kellon Rover
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – Twenty international companies have already signalled their interest in participating in the highly anticipated Agri- Investment Forum and Expo, set to open here at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) May 19 – 21.
Apart from the global entities, 33 regional and 53 local companies, and at least four global institutions are also on board to date. His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali made the announcement Friday, during the official launch of the event at the ACCC.
President Ali said the event will also see the participation of key stakeholders travelling from as far as the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“In the UAE we have been able to secure in attendance at this forum, four of the largest buyers and distributors of food and agriculture products. They will be coming here to be part of the expo to look at the opportunities,” he noted.
The president said the renowned entrepreneurs are known for their investments in the agriculture potential of countries. He said they usually put money into projects and derive the product as an output.
“What are they targeting? Coffee, cocoa, spices, sugarcane, these are some of the target areas that they are looking at and they are all confirmed.”
Further, the head of state emphasised that CARICOM’s vision to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025, is being recognised in every corner of the globe, “… to the extent that the minister of finance, this week, was able to get the full commitment of IDB Invest to be part of the 25 by 2025 vision. Not only would they be part of the vision, but they would be part of the expo,” Dr Ali also announced.
IDB-Invest is a multilateral investment institution that is an independent affiliate of the IDB Group. It is known for investing in small and medium-sized private projects, either directly or through equity funds.
Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr K. J Srinivasa is on board to provide technical assistance for the agriculture expo. Support will also be provided through the European Union (EU) to Guyana.
President Ali said addressing the issue of food security is multifaceted [in nature], nothing that it is more than just producing the food. It includes financing, technology, partnership, shared responsibility and inclusion of both women and youths.
“We cannot do this without the private sector, we cannot do this without each other, the region must understand that we are all partners in this, we can’t restrict each other, we can’t be barriers to each other. For it to be successful, we have to facilitate each other. We must have a win-win scenario and that is what we want to create,” Dr Ali highlighted.
The Guyanese leader said the aim of the region is to build a victorious food system. The end result must ensure healthier food, more cost-effective prices for the population, and greater economic opportunities through job creation.
The forum will facilitate intense consultations between the public and private sectors on investment opportunities.