There is currently a devastating locust plague which started in the Middle East that is moving across Eastern Africa and parts of Asia. For example, to date, Kenya, India and Pakistan have been impacted and crops have been wiped out. Many are expecting the impact of the plague to last several years due to the heavy egg-laying by the locusts. The plague also covers thousands of kilometers and in some instances has resulted in losses greater than £2 Billion for this season’s crop. The resulting and forecasted food shortage will have a tremendous impact on their food supply and the health of those in the affected areas. Many are also worried about extensive starvation given the extent of the negative impact of the locust plague on their country’s agriculture sector and the resulting increases in food prices.
However, these unfortunate international circumstances do also present an opportunity for our rice farmers and our agriculture sector to be able to help our global brothers and sisters during these difficult times. By working closely with the United Nations and the affected country representatives in Guyana, a number of long-term supply contracts can be established. The current developing international food supply shortage will also provide an opportunity to quickly expand and grow our agriculture sector, and Guyana will be able to play its part as a responsible global citizen with our allies, while also reducing the level of unemployment and poverty within our Nation. A great opportunity for our laid off cane cutters to re-enter the workforce.
Some may question why the need to send goods that far away while our neighbours in Venezuela are facing similar issues due to different underlying reasons. Hopefully the time will eventually come where we can be of aid to Venezuela, but we must first ensure that our border dispute is resolved in an amicable manner and no international embargoes are violated. Once this occurs an UN approved supply agreement could be established.
In regards to the discussion concerning Asia and Africa, a large portion of our citizens have their origins in this part of world. The situation in which Indians and Africans find themselves is not one of choice as in the case of Venezuela which can comply with the UN’s demands and change its current economic situation. On the other hand by helping our extended family in those regions of our origin during these difficult times should be a top priority given their inability to quickly change the developing food supply shortage and our strong historical & cultural connection. Any little we can do helps in this dire situation and when one helps one’s extended family it is as though one is also helping oneself.
Mr. Jamil Changlee
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