Agri ministry inks CDN$5M food security research project
In an effort to increase food production, improve nutrition, and achieve a
reduction in the food import bill within the Caribbean, Guyana, like other countries is moving purposefully in a positive direction
A CDN$5M project was yesterday awarded to the Ministry of Agriculture (Guyana) after its proposals along with seven others of 267 submissions were approved.
The project document was inked by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, George Jervis along with Professor Chandra A. Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Mc Gill University, in the Ministry’s boardroom.
The project is being funded by the International Research Development Centre (IRDC) of Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), as a result of a proposal that was commenced in 2008 by the Government of Canada at a time when the crisis of food security gained national attention.
Madramootoo stated that because of the high cost of the Caribbean’s food import bill amounting to US$4B annually, this project would discover methods to assist the Caribbean in reducing its dependence on imported food (thus minimizing importation costs).
Kaieteur News understands that the 40-month study would address numerous areas which target food and nutrition issues, particularly in vulnerable areas.
Focus will be placed on countries within the Caribbean which have vast potential for food production to guide others in the Caricom’s Agriculture Initiative.
Other areas to be addressed include irrigation and water management given the effects of climate change, post-harvest technology, development of improved fertilizer systems such as drip-irrigation and nutrition education.
Mc Gill University responded to an initiative by Canada for academic institutions there to invest in research projects in developing countries.
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud stated that this project would contribute significantly to the reopening of more land at several villages on the East Coast of Demerara for agricultural purposes. Farmers in Parika were also mentioned as potential beneficiaries in the same aspect.
This newspaper further understands that yesterday’s development will greatly assist the production and productivity as well as improve socio-economic conditions of these communities.