Govt launches $143M projects with CDB to boost food security

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha

The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), on Tuesday launched two projects to propel the country’s food security agenda and boost market access and export.

The two projects cost approximately $143.1 million (€$636,106), through funding from the CDB and European Union’s CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CSME Standby Facility.

The first project aims to strengthen surveillance programmes to protect against bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis. These are milk-borne infectious diseases that affect cattle.

It is expected to protect the growing livestock industry while increasing beef and cattle production productivity.

This initiative will also catapult the dairy industry, advancing ventures such as the government’s dairy project, which benefits hundreds of single parents.

“This here will safeguard the livestock industry. We are in the process of building a state-of-the-art abattoir in Region 5, where we are now looking to develop the cattle industry in beef and dairy,” Minister Mustapha noted.

Meanwhile, the second project sees the development of a food traceability system for pineapples and leafy greens in Guyana. This design ensures transparency in the journey from farm to table.

It supports supply chain transparency and disease outbreak response.

“A traceability system in agriculture and the food sector is particularly important. An effective one can promptly identify, single out and remove unsafe food products from the market, and we are having a lot of that in our markets in Guyana and I am hoping that these things can eradicate and remove it,”

The minister described the projects as ‘groundbreaking’ and said that they will address critical challenges while unlocking new opportunities for growth and development.

“The agriculture sector is undergoing rapid transformation, as many initiatives are being executed to ensure the availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability of food, driven by both the public and private sector,” he pointed out.

In 2023, the livestock industry grew by 12.7 per cent, while the crop industry expanded by 4.1 per cent. This is a testament to the impact of the government’s interventions with the support of international partners.

The agriculture minister said that these partnerships will continue to build a sustainable agriculture sector, positioning the country as a regional food hub.

Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj, Head of the CDB’s Private Sector Division, Lisa Harding, and CARIFORUM Deputy Programme Manager, Yvanette Baron-George, also delivered remarks at the simple ceremony.