(CMC) – Guyana says it is moving ahead with plans to establish a US$14 million regional food hub to become a primary food production centre for the Caribbean.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, who met with the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr Mohammed Sulaiman, emphasised Guyana’s desire to become the regional food hub.
“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean. What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have. We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water. Now with the investment coming on board, we can modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions,” he said.
The facility has already been identified on the Soesdyke /Linden Highway in the country.
Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
Mustapha said Guyana will work with the State of Roraima in Brazil to form a partnership in the development of the hub.
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh said the government have been in discussions with the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.
“We see the regional food hub as very much a regional initiative…as a piece of infrastructure that will contribute to a more efficient market for agricultural products, across the entire Caribbean and Northern South America,” Singh said.
He said that this will also give rise to the growing logistics industry in Guyana moving goods, services, and people. The project will be partly funded by the government.
Mustapha said the mission of Guyana is clear, and that is to make the local agriculture sector more competitive while developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.