$721M earned from export of non-traditional crops in 2002
Increase likely this year

Stabroek News
May 24, 2003

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Guyana's plantains, watermelons, limes, pineapples, pumpkins and other non-traditional crops have made headway in a large number of regional and extra-regional markets, earning $721 million last year, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported yesterday.

And it is anticipated that the export of non-traditional crops will continue to grow during this year, GINA added.

The regional markets include Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts-Nevis, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. The extra-regional markets include Canada, France, the USA, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.

While Guyana exports more than 35 non-traditional products to Barbados, Canada is importing more commodities from here than any other extra-regional country, GINA reported.

Canada, from January to December last year, imported 389 tonnes of non-traditional agricultural produce which included both fresh and processed products. According to GINA, some of those products were genip, awara, banana, bora, boulanger, mango, hot peppers, saeme, sapodilla, squash, poi, breadfruit, dried thyme, plantain and pineapple.

Some 293 tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables were exported from Guyana to Barbados for the first four months of last year and for the corresponding period this year, 320 tonnes were exported, showing an increase of 27 tonnes, GINA noted.

Plantain is ranked top of the list of non-traditional crops exported to Barbados in 2002, GINA quoted Nizam Hassan, General Manager of New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC), as saying. Out of the 699 tonnes of non-traditional crops exported to Barbados, 315 tonnes were plantains. And plantains are still at the top of the list for the first four months of this year with 320 tonnes exported to Barbados for this period.

Hassan also said that watermelon is now the second ranked produce to be exported to Barbados and lime is in third spot. During 2002 watermelon was ranked third while limes were in fourth place as pineapples were the second ranked commodity but for the first four months this year, it moved down to fourth place.

Barbados has also imported from here other produce such as cucumber, cabbage, bora, avocado, eddoe, cassava, coffee beans, passion fruit, pumpkin, tomatoes, tangerine and orange, GINA said.

One factor credited for contributing to this increase of non-traditional crop exports is the establishment of the Central Packaging Facility which was established in 2001 at the Sophia Exhibition Centre and is being managed by the NGMC, GINA stated.

It said further that several exporters are using the facility to process and package fresh produce on a weekly basis.

Hassan observed that the export of non-traditional crops had attracted substantial investors, while pointing out that public exhibitions and awareness programmes also helped to boost exports.

In addition, he said, a number of seminars and technical training programmes were held with farmers and exporters to educate them about proper handling of commodities to prevent damage. The technical projects were conducted by NGMC in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Guyana Economic Opportunities (GEO) project.

Also proper post-harvest techniques were introduced to farmers and are being practised in several areas, Hassan added.

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