Agriculture in Guyana now market driven By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
January 27, 2004

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Agriculture is now both business oriented and market driven, not merely a part time venture, as in the past. As such, production systems have to be geared toward competitiveness and gaining access to international markets.

Speaking at a seminar sponsored by the British High Commission yesterday at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, Kingston, Minister of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock and acting Minister of Agriculture, Satyadeow Sawh declared: “I am pleased to note that over the years we as a nation have been able to recognize agriculture as a business and not a mere part time, subsistence activity. Indeed we have moved away from this outdated manner of thinking to one in which the agricultural sector is gradually being accepted as one that is both business-oriented and market-driven. As the sector continues to face challenges we have taken note of the growing need for us to adopt sustainable production methods and systems which can contribute to competitiveness and capability to access international markets. No longer can we be contented to produce commodities of just average standard. We need to excel.”

However, he emphasized the need to have guaranteed markets, hence production systems should have a market-oriented approach, and the market intelligence system should facilitate timely and efficient distribution of facts to all relevant stakeholders.

Consequently, Sawh underscored the importance of acquainting and applying recent technological advances in order to respond to the recognized demand.

While Guyana in a growing liberalized global economy does not have the perfecting marketing system as yet through institutions such as the Guyana Office for Investment (GOINVEST) and the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC) are making tangible contributions towards the successful marketing of local agricultural products, Sawh explained.

He noted that in an effort to create an agricultural sector that is both sustainable and globally competitive the “National Development Strategy” (2001-2010)-A Policy Framework” has outlined a strategy of agricultural diversification as one of the primary means of economic development, adding that Government’s current policy is to support policies geared towards increased earnings from traditional crops, while encouraging production of domestic food commodities and non-traditional exports.

The minister commended the British High Commission and consultants who have worked towards the success of the event, bearing in mind the export potential of Guyana’s agriculture sector which is responsible for 70% of employment directly and indirectly.

Dean of Business of the Royal Agriculture College in the UK, Dr. Jonathan Turner, delivered a lecture to the large gathering of farmers and agro-processors on the structure, expanse and trends of the British market. He noted the growing demands for organic fruits and vegetables.