Food supply being monitored for CWC-- Persaud
-- opportunity golden to market local products

Kaieteur News
January 30, 2007

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The Ministry of Agriculture, through the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC), is continually monitoring the availability of locally grown and produced food, to ensure that there is no shortage for Cricket World Cup (CWC).

Guyana is expected to see an influx of over 25,000 visitors during the period March 28 to April 9, and there are some fears that CWC could place strain on food supplies to meet local demands.

Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud told Kaieteur News yesterday that moves are apace to link farmers and suppliers directly to those supplying accommodation services for the event, while ensuring that there is adequate supply to meet domestic demands.

According to Persaud, the event presents a golden opportunity to create market access in non-traditional areas, hence the involvement of the NGMC, the local marketing agency.

He alluded that this possibility will depend on the quality produced during the event, and the consumers' satisfaction with the products.

“We are working with many of the tour operators, who will be responsible for some of the visitors here, and we are seeking to promote Guyana as a supplier of quality fresh produce and processed products. It is a golden opportunity to market Guyana by exploring follow-up market access,” Persaud stated.

He assured that the NGMC is monitoring the process to ensure that prices remain stable.

Persaud noted that the Ministry is implementing initiatives arising out of a forum held in November last year.

During the seminar, hoteliers, restauranteurs, farmers, agro-processors, exporters and meat producers, discussed the necessary arrangements that must be made to address the need for agricultural products.

Persaud noted that the signs so far are positive, since many suppliers are collaborating with the NGMC.

“Many have begun investing in crops and livestock with the projection that these will be ready in time for CWC,” Persaud noted.

During November's seminar, producers were urged to ensure that appropriate post-harvest practices were adhered to, and that focus is placed on quality, appropriate packaging, handling, and transportation. Hoteliers and restauranteurs were also advised to enter into simple contracts with the producers.

Producers are being urged to focus on quality, taking into consideration sanitary and phytosanitary conditions, which have now become a requirement in food production.

While government is offering support, through the NGMC, to assist in the production of quality products, Persaud has pledged additional resources will be made available towards this effort.