Region 4 to push agricultural trade with upcoming exhibition

President David Granger (at centre) along with Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan viewing the display of coconut biscuits at the launch of the Regional Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE) yesterday.

In a bid to promote increased agricultural trade in the region, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Four will be hosting a trade fair in November.

The inaugural Regional Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE), due to be held from November 24 to November 26, was launched yesterday morning at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel, where President David Granger and other government officials were in attendance.

It will be held under the theme “Region 4 – Advancing Sustainable Development through Trade.”

Speaking at the launch, RDC Chairperson Genevieve Allen said that the council wants to present an event that is geared towards the continued promotion of environmentally-friendly economic agricultural fronts and to ensure that the region’s products and local businesses are promoted. “Our exhibition seeks to showcase a wide range of agricultural products, especially those that offer that ecofriendly twist from as early as production to the utilisation stage,” she added, while noting that the exhibition will echo Granger’s vision of ensuring that development coincides with the country’s “green state” plan.

Allen said that the exhibition is also intended to attract potential investors, both local and foreign, and to promote commerce and other business opportunities within the region.

She noted that members of the council have recognised that the country is moving in a new and exciting direction, where there are demands for fresh and innovative ideas and ways of ensuring sustenance and development. With the new vision, she further said, there must be bold and unique opportunities that enable and showcase local products and services in being competitive and finding domestic and global acceptance. “The avenues that are open to our people in this new dispensation must take into account our young, our skilled, our developing and emerging entrepreneurs…,” she said. “We want to ensure that avenues are opened to not only producers and businesses but to consumers,” she added, while also emphasising that there should also be a demand for high quality and standards so that the country can be competitive on the global market.

Allen said that local businesses must be able to market their goods and services in a way that attracts local consumers, which in turn creates a positive feedback that can influence the product’s performance abroad.

Also speaking at the launch, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan said that the launch of the event echoes the administration’s promise of decentralisation and empowering the people.

“We were elected on a pledge and a promise to reinvigorate the local democracy. To put local government front and centre of the development and we have spared no effort in this regard,” he said, while pointing out that the fact that there has been increased budgetary allocations to all of the regions is testament to the APNU+AFC government’s intention to empower the regions and enable them to address local issues with local persons. “It is destined to remove decision making from Georgetown, a misplaced and dated approach to managing resources and the economy, which has produced underemployment and underdevelopment,” Bulkan said.

Against this background, he pointed out that the exhibition should be geared towards reducing poverty and addressing the underemployment and unemployment, which plague the country.

“We are empowering the regional and local governments to take ownership of creating and delivering growth for business activity,” he added, while highlighting that the regions were not created for administrative purposes but for development.

He also charged the region to move away from the “simply buying and selling” attitude and to be innovative in enhancing products and placing focus on the manufacturing sector.

The exhibition, which is intended to be an annual affair, will be held at the Lusignan Community Centre Ground.

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