The participation of the private sector in Caricom food security projects will be more efficient

Dear Editor,
We are all aware of the saying, ‘As the grass is growing the horse is starving.’ In our case the talking continues while we are awaiting starvation. It might sound dramatic, but such is the scenario at COTED (Council on Trade and Econo-mic Development) in Caricom.

I first became involved with this body about 20 years ago and parted company a little while ago feeling very frustrated with their non-performance – it is just a talk shop. The important issue of food security has always been on the agenda, and action has been promised as is now the case, where a committee has been formed to look at same. It would be great if Mr LaRoque could get someone to check the files to see what studies have been done – he will find lots.

There is no great will on the part of any of the politicians to see this done, as we all know this issue is a long-term one. In addition, we all know that most times they are busy trying to stay in power while there are no positive steps in this area, resulting in the big commercial companies getting bigger and bigger while the price of food and fuel continues to get higher.

It’s a known fact that the world’s population is increasing at an alarming rate and if anything, less land is available for production.
As it is at present Guyana is blessed with a big land mass and the same is capable of producing a variety of crops. It’s a known fact that the three factors of production are land, labour and capital.
As I said, the land and labour are available, but there is no finance.

At present there are two approaches by Ansa McAl and the Trinidad and Tobago government to carry out production here in Guyana. Both are good initiatives, and if executed properly can be successful. Hopefully the plan by the T&T government will be to produce a variety of crops – soya beans, corn, meat, fish, etc, while Ansa will be producing biofuel.  The production of biofuel will have to be done wholly by Ansa because of the huge investment and complicated nature of the process.

The T&T government on the other hand can achieve their objective by identifying the volume of the different products to be produced and obtain from the Government of Guyana the amount of land it will need to produce same.

Finance is then provided to develop the necessary infrastructure, including land development and processing equipment. This having been done, the facilities are then rented out to private individuals or companies to execute production.

This system will enable the participation of the private sector of the region and be more efficient.
Using this model either the whole region can participate together or in separate projects.

Yours faithfully,
Beni Sankar

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