WITH the diplomatic community continuing to show its support for the new administration, Chilean Ambassador to Guyana, Patricio Becker, on Tuesday, paid a courtesy call on Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, at his Regent Street office.
During their engagement, a number is areas for collaboration between the two nations were discussed.
Minister Mustapha expressed interest in collaborating with Chile in the area of food safety.
“Since the passage of the Food Safety Bill by the past administration, no effort has been made to set up the Food Safety Authority. Now that I am minister, I was able to make representation in the 2020 Budget for funds to be made available so that we can get the ball rolling on this. Chile has a well-established food safety system and we are open to collaborating with our international contacts to get our food safety system to a standard where our farmers and agro-processors can benefit,” Minister Mustapha said.
Ambassador Becker also spoke about areas for imports of fruits and other commodities to Guyana. Minister Mustapha, however, informed the ambassador that Government is currently in the process of developing the agriculture sector.
“We are looking to develop the sector rather than importing products that can be and are grown locally. We can work with your Government to have some of your technical personnel come and work with farmers to ramp up their production through transfer of technology and other skills training,” Minister Mustapha said.
Minister Mustapha committed to providing a list of areas where Chilean companies can come to invest in the agriculture sector. These companies, the minister added, would have to provide jobs and develop the areas they choose to set up their operations.
“There are a lot of investment opportunities in Guyana now with the change in Government. Investments were being stifled given the many ‘red tapes’ established by the previous administration. The PPP/C Government is open to meaningful and mutually beneficial investments in all areas, especially the agriculture sector. In fact, there are incentives for persons looking to invest in corm and soya bean,” Minister Mustapha said.