FOLLOWING several engagements between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Agriculture Sub-Committee of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), over 100 Region Six farmers have benefit ted from training that will help boost their production and increase income.
According to a GCCI press release issued on Friday, its sub-committee, spearheaded by Chairman Brian Edwards, met with the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, in September, to explore ways in which they could collaborate for Agriculture Month.
The engagement resulted in Minister Zulfikar pledging his ministry’s support to the GCCI sub-committee and its partners to conduct a series of awareness and training workshops focusing on farmers, especially women and youth.
According to the release, the minister had implored that such an initiative must continue beyond Agriculture Month and should target the various farming
communities throughout Guyana.
Consequently, a team comprising of representatives from private sector organisations and semi-autonomous agencies entered into a collaborative partnership to deliver awareness and training programmes to farmers, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and its agencies.
Stakeholder businesses included the Inter-American Institute for Corporation on Agriculture (ICCA), Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), Guyana Food Safety Authority (GFSA), Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), Small Business Bureau (SBB), World University Service of Canada (WUSC), and Empower Guyana, the release stated.
The initiative was launched in Regions Six and Four. The sessions that were held focused on key areas, to help farmers, women, and youth build their capacity by encouraging them to use climate-smart technology such as micronutrients to boost production, improve yield and the quality of their produce which would ultimately lead to improved income.
The release added that farmers were also urged to treat agriculture as a business so that “they can produce to sell rather than selling what they produce as this will help them to access local and eventually overseas markets.”
It was further stated that information on access to financing, business function, good agricultural practices, understanding and honoring contractual obligations, and access to incubator services were also presented to producers in Albion, East Bank Berbice, Black Bush Polder, and Crabwood Creek.
“GCCI recognises agriculture as one of the most important productive sectors in Guyana’s economy,” the release said.
GCCI used the opportunity to pledge its commitment to continue its work in creating an enabling environment for farmers so as to ensure they are readily prepared for the economic boom that is anticipated in Guyana’s production sector as well as to contribute to the reduction of the food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
“The committee has since completed the first round of workshops in Region Six reaching a total of 115 farmers and agro-processors. The committee plans to expand to Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, and 10 in 2023.”