It was very painful to take note of the well prepared article in KN dated August 15, titled ‘Is Guyana’s manufacturing sector dying ?’ with photos of tamarind balls and coconut water from Thailand, rice from Pakistan, roti and puri from Suriname, plantain chips from Jamaica, etc. But Editor it is much worse; fruits that we grew and can still grow in abundance are now imported. I refused to purchase a mango when told it was imported.
For me, it is a scandalous situation. The news item gave a number of possible reasons and views of those in the business, as well as a balanced bit of journalism . Now in most places and situations a ‘story’ has two sides, but in Guyana we are special. Our story oft times has three sides; we hear one side, we hear the other side but never the whole story.
To tell the whole story will require a visit to the colonial days, when we were made to believe that all good things came from ‘abroad’, and after 50 years of Independence it somehow still lingers. Then there is our sad political saga of 3 odd generations.
Recently we have noticed an assault on Forbes Burnham. Had Linden F S Burnham not passed away just as the Cold War was thawing, Guyana would not be importing food and fruits that can be produced locally. When you break a bone it takes time to repair itself, and is never the same as before.
A few suggestions: 1) Mon Repos Agricultural Station needs a more aggressive research programme to produce improved varieties of vegetables, green and fruits; and 2) make farming exciting in all of our schools. Say what you may of the British to deal with the ravages of World War II, at Queen’s College on Brickdam we had a gardening plot to grow food not flowers. 3) Our local farmers must retain an advantage, also the state should review laws which lock up farmers because they employ certain methods to deal with larceny of their produce.
This is just to get the ball rolling