AGRICULTURE, being one of Guyana’s most important and productive sectors, will benefit from a $22.6 billion allocation for 2021. This was revealed by Senior Minister in the office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, during his presentation of the national budget on Monday.
The minister said that the allocation, geared at ensuring that the sector is able to discharge its envisaged role, will see government investing in opening new farm-to-market roads; the clearing and preparation of new lands; expanding the infrastructure in the intermediate savannahs; expanding drainage and irrigation networks to make new land available for small, medium, and mega farms; strengthening extension services through additional and improved facilities; traceability and certification services to reduce existing trade barriers; research and development; and coordinating and facilitating private-sector participation in agriculture-based tourism.
To complement these initiatives, Dr. Singh explained that the government intends to build human-resource capacity to deliver the services required to drive growth within the food-production sector.
“Government’s intention is that agriculture will be one of the major anchors of our non-oil economy, given its core role to assure food security, improve incomes and create jobs, generate export earnings and reduce food imports, and catalyse value-added production,” he said.
Dr. Singh believes that these budget allocations will not only benefit farmers in their operations, but it will also improve the country’s food-security capacity, thereby propelling Guyana to take its rightful place as a leading agricultural hub within the Caribbean.
“With this holistic plan for agriculture, Guyana is well poised to claim its long outstanding position as the food basket of the Caribbean – supporting livelihoods and transforming not only our economy, but the Region,” the minister said.
He added that despite all the challenges thrown at the country’s agriculture sector, its agencies, farmers, fishermen and other stakeholders have remained resilient in providing heartily for the local and regional markets during the pandemic.
Dr. Singh reminded the National Assembly that agriculture is one of the most important productive sectors of Guyana’s economy, accounting for approximately one-third of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 30 percent of the country’s employment.
He disclosed that at the end-2020, agriculture accounted for 27.1 per cent of non-oil GDP and 21.3 per cent of non-oil exports.
“Agriculture will be one of the major anchors of our non-oil economy,” Dr. Singh highlighted, noting that it will be an ever-expanding sector that will enable Guyana to increase food security not only for its own people, but the entire Caribbean as well. The sector is also poised to create and maintain thousands of employment opportunities throughout the country.
Budget Allocations to Agriculture Sub-industries
As such, the 2021 budget provides an allocation of $2 billion for critical capital works at GuySuCo
Guyana Rice development board Development Authority will now see about $1.3 billion
$1.2 billion is budgeted to support the operations of National Agricultural Research and Extension institute (NAREI)
$70 million to support Coconut industry
$832 million for agricultural infrastructure
$293 million is being provided to New GMC
$806 million will be provided to the Guyana Livestock Development Authority
$293 for million Fisheries and Aquaculture sector
$500 million for Soya Bean and Corn production
$ 12 billion for Drainage and Irrigation