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– ‘space would enable us to be more effective and efficient’ -FAO Country Rep.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) secretariat in Guyana commissioned its new office on Friday at the Ministry of Agriculture’s La Bonne Intention (LBI) Complex.
During the commissioning, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha said the new office demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working with international partners to develop the sector.
“This new office is another act to demonstrate our commitment to working and collaborating with our international partners to develop the sector. We’ve been working very closely with our international partners and you can testify to the gains we’ve been making in agriculture. Guyana is once again taking its rightful place in the Region in terms of pushing the agriculture agenda and food security.
Guyana has a history and a legacy for pushing agriculture in the Caribbean and CARICOM. Our former President developed the ‘Jagdeo’s Initiative’ that was adopted by CARICOM. Those points are still relevant today. Our current President has put forward a document to advance the agriculture agenda and food security in the Caribbean that was recently adopted by the CARICOM Heads of Government. As a result of that, a Ministerial Taskforce was developed that is being chaired by Guyana, and I am very optimistic that with the help of the FAO and other partners, we can develop a strategy to advance our food security agenda and work to resolve the issues of food insecurity in the Caribbean,” he said.
Minister Mustapha also said the Government will continue to push the agriculture agenda in the Caribbean. The Government will also continue to collaborate with organisations like the FAO. He added that the Ministry and the Government look forward to the FAO’s cooperation, guidance, and input to push the agriculture agenda in the Region.
Meanwhile, FAO’s Country Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith said the new space would provide an enabling environment for the staff. She also said that it would support the kind and quality of work required in Guyana from the FAO.
“The Ministry has consented and provided us with this new office space. We’ve been able to create a space that, I believe, is very good for the staff and provides us with enough comfort so that we can be more effective and efficient in what we are doing. The Government of Guyana has provided, through the host country agreement with FAO since 2007, a space for us to operate.
Importantly, as a UN agency, we have been embedded with the Ministry of Agriculture, which is probably the closest and most important partner that we have in the Government. Ever since we’ve been in Guyana,” she said.
Dr. Smith also said the FAO has been examining how it can support and expand what the Government is doing, and what the people of Guyana are doing in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and rural development.
“This building will help us to support and provide the kind of work and the quality of work required by Guyana. It is also a recognition of the importance that Guyana is increasingly playing in the
Caribbean and it provides an opportunity for us to provide the kind of support that Guyana needs as it pursues its development agenda,” she said.
The LBI Complex also houses other agriculture agencies such as the Guyana Rice Development Board, the New Guyana Marketing Corporation and the Guyana Sugar Corporation. (DPI)