As a Third World developing country, agriculture has played, and will play, a pivotal role in our economic development. The industry has succored us for decades, and has also proven to be a success story if managed in the proper way. Even at this critical juncture of our history, wherein we are blessed with vast oil wealth, we still cannot lay aside the sector that has kept us going for all these years.
The economic forecasters have concluded that oil can change the economic outlook of Guyana overnight, but one has to take into consideration that it is an exhaustible resource; unlike agriculture, which, if engaged in a sustainable manner, can remain viable for years to come.
The long-term economic benefits of this sector cannot be overemphasised, but should be honed only for the successful development of our country. The economic planners of our nation have come to the realisation of this fact and have thus put forward a comprehensive plan to revive the sector, while expanding in other areas.
This is sound economic principle. On these pillars our country must fast forward in an upward development trajectory.
We cannot all be employed in the oil sector, that’s a surety, so agriculture shall remain a bedrock for us. In this regard, we must turn our attention to that which exists on the agricultural front. We have sugar and rice being the main crops for many years; these have to be modernised and expanded. We must make the industry viable; that is: we must pay strict attention to its intensification and reduce the cost of production into sustainable and profitable levels.
Other areas that must be tapped into immediately include the large-scale production of corn, soya bean, cocoa, coffee, coconut and avocado pear. The last two crops mentioned are in worldwide demand right now, both the fruit and its associated by-products. We have the land area and the manpower to make these crops a success story, it is only left to the scientific technology and the political wherewithal to propel production forward.
I have great faith in my Agriculture Minister and Government to bring success and development to this sector of our economy.
You would have noticed that I haven’t touched on the subject of animal husbandry. I shall tap into in this area in a subsequent article.