Stockfeed corn to be focused on at Caribbean agri week – Ramsammy

Growing corn for the regional stockfeed industry will be highlighted at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) set to get underway in Georgetown tomorrow.

Guyana will be hosting, for the second time, the CWA from October 4-12, 2013; Guyana hosted its first CWA in 2003. A release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said that the theme for CWA 2013 is ‘Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Develop-ment’ while, the theme for Guyana’s Agriculture Month is ‘Proud to host Caribbean Week of Agriculture: Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development.’

Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy said, according to GINA, “This Caribbean Week of Agriculture is saying to our people in Guyana and the Caribbean that we want to use agriculture as enterprise development and to generate wealth… we are not using this CWA to do the old message which was agriculture for subsistence liveli-hood…In fact we are using this CWA to propel us forward and reject the notion that agriculture is just for subsistence livelihood.”

He used the development of the Barbadian-owned Santa Fe farm in Region 9 as an example of what agriculture can do and how the regional entrepreneurs can be marshalled into developing individual ventures, saying that the products from Santa Fe will not contribute to food and nutrition security in Guyana since the country has already achieved that outside of Santa Fe; but it demonstrates how Guyana can contribute to food and nutrition security in the Caribbean.

The Minister noted that the Caribbean grows enough corn for human consumption. However, the region imports a lot of corn for the stockfeed industry.

He said, “What we want to highlight at Caribbean Week of Agriculture is that we can produce all the corn that we require for the stockfeed industry and how that helps in food security is that in the poultry industry we could lower the cost of production… it is no secret that the Caribbean is self-sufficient or has the capacity to be self-sufficient in the production of poultry, and in countries like Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, among others, we are already meeting our poultry demands  but we do it at a cost that is high.”

GINA quoted him as saying, “We are also hoping to sign a number of agreements and MOUs during Caribbean Week of Agriculture including an agreement with IICA and the European Union… IICA has received a grant of €11M to implement a capacity strengthening programme in the Caribbean region relating to sanitary and phytosanitary standards Guyana is one of the countries in which the IICA/EU project is being implemented.”

The Minister recalled that earlier this year IICA signed an agreement with the EU to implement an €8M project in the Caribbean that consists of three components, the first will be coordinated by IICA, another by Caricom and the final one by CARDI. These initiatives will also be highlighted through a seminar during CWA.

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