The Grow More Food campaign has had a positive impact and rice exports brought in US$118M last year, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud says.

He added that last year too, there were increases in exports. “The non-traditional crops sector recorded increased exports and we introduced several new crops to overseas markets”, he stated at a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture boardroom yesterday. He said that non-traditional exports went up close to US$7M and declared that the ability not only to supply traditional markets but new markets as well shows the impact of the Grow More Food campaign.  He asserted that the campaign met objectives that had been set.

The minister declined to provide figures stating that this would be contained in the National Budget, which is expected to be presented shortly.

Persaud stated that there was general expansion in all the sub-sectors with the exception of sugar. He pointed out that last year, the “highest ever” figure earned for exports of rice was recorded with the staple garnering some US$118M. However, he noted that the sugar industry faces some “rough” years ahead and will go through a difficult financial situation which will last up to 2015 and then at this point the returns from the investments made in the Skeldon factory, the Enmore packaging facility and other investments will start to be seen.

Meantime, the Agriculture Minister further stated that improved breeds of cattle, sheep and swine acquired during 2007 were multiplied and distributed while additional small ruminant stocks for breeding and distribution were acquired. He noted that for the first time, embryo transfer to introduce a new breed of sheep in Guyana was successfully carried out.

He declared that despite several challenges faced throughout 2008, which placed a tremendous strain on the agriculture sector, the Ministry continued to execute its policies, programmes and projects geared towards modernizing and transforming agriculture and food production in Guyana.

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