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Economy, agriculture and food security

In 2012, Guyana’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $US2 851 million. The main productive sectors of the economy are: agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, and construction. The agriculture sector consists mainly of rice, sugar and livestock production. The sector’s contribution to total GDP declined from 30 percent in 2001 to 21 percent in 2011 because of declining sugar productivity, due to the removal from the European Union preferences, management deficiencies and industrial unrest.

In 2013, the total economically active population is 373 000 inhabitants, or 47 percent of the total population. The economically active population in agriculture is estimated at 51 000 inhabitants (14 percent of total active population) of which 8 percent are female. Agriculture is concentrated along the coastal belt where most of the population resides.

Guyana’s two main crops, rice and sugar, are the lead export oriented earners. They occupy most cultivated land and also most irrigated land. They are mostly produced in the declared drainage and irrigation areas (DDI). However a small amount is produced in the undeclared drainage and irrigation areas (UDI). Other crops - vegetables, staple crops, fruits and spices - are now being produced in larger quantities to satisfy local needs and to meet the export markets that are being developed in the Caricom Region and beyond. The non traditional crops and vegetable sector is growing and contributing to the food production efforts by taking advantage of the support of the government and of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC), which assists farmers to market their produce both locally and internationally.

Guyana relies significantly on trade. The country is one of the most open countries in the region. In 2009, exports accounted for some 75 percent of GDP. During the period 2005-2009 there has been a consistent growth in both exports and imports, but with a persistent trade deficit: in 2009 exports accounted for US$ 741 million while imports accounted fro US$ 1 118 million. The main export products are sugar, rice, bauxite, gold, forest products, and fishing.

The government, through its development strategies, makes efforts to provide food security to its people, concentrating its resources to maximize production.


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