Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud on Friday registered government’s appreciation to the local office of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) office for its involvement in making the past year a successful one for agriculture.
He was at the time addressing officials at IICA’s annual accountability seminar held at the Georgetown club.
The Minister said that efforts to modernize and transform the traditional agriculture sector require combined efforts from all stakeholders both local and external.
While highlighting some of the progress achieved over the last years he noted the different inputs and contribution received, especially the technical support provided by IICA has helped the sector to attain new heights.
Minister Persaud also valued IICA’s efforts and said he looks forward for more of their contribution so as to boost the agricultural sector.
“The fact that no limitation in terms of IICA’s ability to contribute to the vast pool of need that we have in our country, we still value that contribution and support; in fact we look forward for similar support and also much more relevant support. In the discussion that I’ve had with the new director general we have explored ideas how it is that IICA can be much more effective in terms of supporting the regional agricultural thrust but also supporting more efforts here in Guyana”
Added to the agricultural diversification strategy, Minister Persaud said that Guyana is pursuing finalization of its national food and nutrition strategy which will set the long term framework for the new agricultural sector that it is building.
Minister Persaud said that the country’s main agricultural activities have seen an increase when compared to last year’s report. “…we have seen sugar production on an increase. If you look at half year 2011, if you compare it with half year 2010, there was in increase by about 30% and for rice, 23.5% in terms of growth.”
The dynamics in Guyana are changing with regards to rural livelihood and the traditional approaches as to how the country has responded will also have to be adjusted.
“We will have to re-adjust ourselves nationally to deal with the new dynamics and new realities,” Minister Persaud said.
Ignatius Jean, IICA Representative in Guyana, highlighted the technical Cooperation Agenda 2010 and Country Strategy.
In terms of the thematic areas of cooperation, productivity and competitiveness-IICA and NARI conducted field trials for hydroponics systems to observe the performance of selected crops in various media and nutrient treatment.
IICA led a secondary schools hydroponics competition, which was launched in 2007 among 15 schools with 150 participating students, and this has grown in popularity and has caused the Ministry of Education to expand the programme to 38 schools and 380 students in 2010, Jean said.