Home Letters Impressed with attention, investment in the shrimp industry
The news from Budget 2023, about how “Gov’t (is) to spend $350m on shrimp farms”, is indeed very uplifting.
According to Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, the Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration is focused on making the necessary investment to propel the sector.” Overall, the commitment reads that “We are committed to: increasing production and productivity through expansion in acreages and use of technology; diversifying into new crops and varieties; promoting high-value and value-added, including through agro-processing; and easing the access for farmers and consumers to markets.”
And specifically addressing shrimp farms, the allocation is for the expansion of brackish water shrimp farms, and the establishment of vannamei shrimp farms.”
Editor, what Guyanese need to internalise is that this drive within the agriculture sector will redound in better proximity to markets and the potential to offer the fresh product to consumers. This then translates into reducing the need for middlemen in the business.
Let me add incentive to this investment by informing all that farmed shrimp accounts for more than half of the shrimp produced globally. Most shrimp aquaculture occurs in China, followed by Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador and Bangladesh; and farmed shrimp has generated substantial income in these developing countries. So, I ask: “Why not Guyana?”
Think on this: Shrimp is one of the most traded species of seafood across the globe, and due to the high demand for shrimp and its improved supply, the shrimp industry growth remains a stable prospect for long-term growth. In fact, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), in 2021, the international trade for shrimp was approximately 3.35 million tons. As a matter of fact, when the 2022 numbers are finalised, global shrimp production is expected to be up 4 percent to 5.6 million metric tons, following an 11.5 percent increase in 2021. Thus, Guyana must move in the direction of the major investors, who are seeking to profit by this farming method.
Taking a quick look at what the budget spells out for this aspect, Guyanese have every reason to be optimistic. Going back to 2020, when the brackish water shrimp initiative was promoted by President Ali, Guyana now has some thirty-three brackish water shrimp farms as a result of continued investments made over the past year and a half. This speaks of good sense too, as, according to the Finance Head, “In the face of challenges due to climate change and related factors, Government continues to support our fisherfolk, and is assiduously working to provide the necessary assistance and technical support to promote innovation and productivity within the marine and aquaculture industries.”
I close this little missive by asking that complainers of Budget 2023 focus on what is actually happening in the country since August 2020, and in many areas too. If they scan the landscape, they will see that, bit by bit, Guyanese are seeing unprecedented positives in many areas. The shrimping success is something to be pleased about, and of course there are many other things that I can point to, but, for now, this suffices for optimism in the ascendency in Guyana.