Way cleared for increased Guyana/Brazil agri. trade


– Could lead to big agri investments
Governments of the Republic of Guyana and Brazil concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the area of phytosanitary security for agricultural produce on April 26 at the CARICOM/ Brazil Summit in Brasilia.

The MOU is crafted to promote bilateral communication and co-operation in the phytosanitary area, especially as it refers to products of vegetal origin and seeks to protect human, animal and vegetal health.
Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud who was part of the Guyana delegation headed by President Bharrat Jagdeo, highlighted that there is an existing partial scope agreement that allows trade between the two countries.
He further indicated that for trade to occur, it is necessary for a number of arrangements to be in place which includes sanitary and phytosanitary areas.
“The MOU will enable both parties to conclude outstanding matters, so that trade can begin,” Minister Persaud stated.
Guyana will now be able to increase and expedite formal agricultural trade with Brazil with regards to the country’s long-term plans for development of the Rupununi in Region 9 as a major area for food production with rice, soya and corn being primary products for trade.
Additionally, other products like rice, sugar, fruits and vegetables will also be traded between the two countries.
“This will open-up greater possibilities given the fact that we have several investors who are about to commence activities within that Region, but for their activities and investments to succeed they would require some framework that will allow them access into the Brazilian market,” Minister Persaud said.
Owing to Guyana’s soil suitability for cultivation, a European company based in Brazil, Rice Tech will be investing in Region 9 where its operations will be focused on hybrid seed for rice farmers in Brazil and other countries.
The Minister noted that the MOU will also allow this company to commence operations. He highlighted that the Ministry has already identified the area and concluded an interim investment with the company.
According to Minister Persaud this will be beneficial to persons residing in Region 9 since it will provide employment and other spin-off effects and room for other investments in the Region.
Minister Persaud emphasised that an agreement of this nature is needed in CARICOM since farmers and exporters in the Community still face difficulties when entering certain markets.
“Guyana intends to share this with CARICOM and the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) that has been recently launched in Suriname, so that they can look at what is stated in the agreement and perhaps see whether what we might be able to do between Guyana and Brazil can also be instructive, so that across the Region, we don’t have to constantly face the issue of non-tariff trade barrier,” Minister Persaud stated.
Provisions in the MOU include mutual consultation mechanism; resolution for differences that may arise; and  establishing mechanisms for co-operation in the border region through a joint Working Plan.
Whenever necessary, parties (Brazil and Guyana) shall co-operate to reach the necessary technical solution as soon as possible; and each party will establish a point of contact.