In no productive sector have we begun to take advantage of the vast possibilities for linkages

Dear Editor,
Given our endowment of extensive and rich agricultural lands, it is a matter of commonsense to make the expansion of the agricultural sector one of the main planks of our development strategy. Given our resources base, we in Guyana are in a fortunate position to break the cycle of low production and achieve the goal of our economy. But we have to gear ourselves for the task. This is a process in which we have to be continuously improving our knowledge, our skills and our political consciousness.

A baneful legacy of the colonial economic arrangements is still with us  – the enormous waste of resources resulting from failure to link manufacturing activities with our resources base; a failure to make economic use of all the raw materials available in the productive sectors; a failure to carry forward manufacturing processes to the higher stages. We have not made progress in reducing this area of waste. For example, the Bauxite Industry could use cassava flour as a flocculent for the manufacture of alumina; it can also produce a by-product-alum. The Sugar Industry can produce vinegar as a by-product. These are examples of a heartening development, but we still have a long way to go.

For example, we are still not making economic use of the bagasse in the Sugar Industry and tons of sawdust in the sawmilling industry still go to waste. In no productive sector have we begun to take advantage of the vast possibilities for linkages. We must therefore intensify our effort to increase the links between industry and our resources. We must link agriculture with, forestry and mining more integrally with industry. Every industry must be regarded as a hub from which a network of other industries must radiate. Manufacturing activities must complement and support one another. Our strategy in this area requires us to establish a line of `downstream’ industries, i.e., industries which ‘service’ other industries by supplying the spare parts, components, semi-processed materials and other inputs essential to the latter’s operation

Our prospects for developing into a highly industrialised state are closely linked with the question of energy supplies. We live in an age in which scientific principles are being adapted more and more to serve the needs of mankind.

We in Guyana need modern capability in order to make the fullest use of our valuable resources comrade Minister of Agriculture. We have to develop a highly competent and motivated scientific community and build the necessary institutions to encourage and facilitate research. We cannot depend upon others to do it for us. The rice industry in Guyana is probably the most integrated of all sectors, be it political, economic, or social, as it permeates across the entire fabric of our country. Paddy produced should be processed by millers into a palatable and edible form with all the by-products for consumers, both locally and externally.

Yours faithfully,
Mohamed Khan

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