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Minister of Fisheries, Other Crops and Livestock Mr. Satyadeow Sawh said his Ministry has performed well during this year.
He pointed out that in the Fisheries Sector there has been significant improvement in the aquaculture industry. Four training programmes were held and approximately 40 persons were trained. Farmers were taught the scientific methods of establishing an aquaculture farm.
The Fisheries Bill 2002 was passed in Parliament this year. This will clear the way for the rapid development of the local fishing industry. The Bill provides for a comprehensive approach to regulating fishing in the country's territorial waters in accordance with the United Nation's Law of the Sea Convention. Steps have also been taken to gain certification from the European Union (EU).
Export of seafood and fish products have increased significantly. A closed season was also introduced this year, which allowed stakeholders in the sector to do rehabilitation and maintenance on wharves and vessels while workers were also granted vacation. The closed season also allowed the resources to rejuvenate.
In the Other Crops sector, exports to the Caribbean, North America and other markets have increased significantly during this year. The Central Packaging Facility at Sophia was also upgraded to meet international standards.
Farmers in several parts of the country, including Parika, Linden and the Northwest District were given advice and demonstrations to practise better post harvest techniques.
The New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC) is in the process of printing some technical bulletins to guide farmers, exporters, buyers and other stakeholders about post-harvest techniques.
NGMC also conducted several market surveys in the United Kingdom, New York, Toronto and the Caribbean through a joint project with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Guyana Economic Opportunity (GEO).
NGMC hosted Buy Local activities in Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara with the aim of continuing the promotion for people to support locally grown and locally made products. NGMC noted significant success this year through the Buy Local campaigns.
Farmers throughout the country have benefited from technical and other assistance from the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) established a unit at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus. The Commission had vocational training, which resulted from the International Tropical Timbers Organisation (ITTO).
The Ministry recorded a number of achievements in the Livestock sector. The sheep and duck production at NARI are moving ahead rapidly. Many farmers are accessing livestock from the farm at NARI.
The mini-milk pasteurisation plant at Dantzic, Mahaicony was commissioned in February this year. The pasteurized milk is sold on the local market. A pilot project was launched at three nursery schools in Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice). Through the pilot project, students are provided with milk on a daily basis and their growth and other health related aspects are recorded then compared to students who are not drinking the milk.
A private investor has also upgraded his abattoir to meet international standards and this will allow Guyana to export beef after this country was certified free from Foot and Mouth Disease (F&MD).
Minister Sawh said Guyana is self-sufficient in poultry production. A private investor has established a multi-million dollar hatchery, which will boost the poultry sector. The Minister added that after consultations, the import duties on chicken parts were increased to give local producers a level playing field.
Minister Sawh said this year has seen many successes and he is optimistic that 2003 will be even better.