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The Ministry of Agriculture will be investing over $200 million to develop a robust marketing strategy to ensure farmers and agro-processors across the nation are linked to the most profitable markets both locally and internationally.
This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha during an interview with the Department of Public Information on Friday.
In a release DPI reported that said Minister Mustapha said the initiative is paramount for the PPP/C Government, especially now that farmers have renewed their interest in the sector and have started expanding their cultivations. “We have invested $10 million to ensure that our agro-processors have access to a certified laboratory for the analysis and testing of their products, especially when targeting international markets. Our agro-processors would now be able attain the necessary standards and certifications in a timely manner at an affordable cost,” the minister added.
Minister Mustapha said Government understands the importance of maintaining the cold chain to reduce losses and extend the shelf-life of produce, even as it works towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As a result, some $85.5 million will be spent to improve cold storage facilities at the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (New GMC), including the acquisition of two refrigerated trucks, two refrigerated containers, construction of a permanent cold storage facility and upgrade of the existing facilities. The proactive active approach will also see the Government investing $158 million to ensure that agro-processors have easy and affordable access to certified processing facilities in Regions Three, Six, Nine and Ten. Some $832 million was allocated in the 2021 budget for agricultural infrastructure including agro-processing and packaging facilities.
“The agro-processing facilities will function both for commercial production and product development for small and medium agro-processors. This will ensure that consumers have access to high quality, high value and innovative local products that are internationally competitive.
We will also conduct extensive market research, participation in trade fairs and exhibitions and use the e-marketing/e-commerce platforms through Public-Private Partnerships,” the minister added. While focus would be placed on finding long-term market opportunities for agro-processors, the New GMC will link farmers and agro-processors with markets in public and private institutions such as hospitals, hotels and restaurants.
The New GMC will also work towards facilitating the supply of at least 10 per cent of the dietary requirements for the programme. The Corporation will also be subsidise raw materials for agro-processors. These include packaging materials and preservatives, which will provide agro-processors with easier access and reduce their production costs. Minister Mustapha said millions of dollars have been budgeted to develop and provide support to all sub-sectors within the Ministry which will also contribute to the successful growth in agricultural produce countrywide. Some $22.6 billion was budgeted for agriculture this year.