Real scope for Canada to invest, partner with Guyana on agri production – High Commissioner

With Canada’s reputation as an agriculture powerhouse and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) having been signed between Guyana and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) earlier this year, there is tremendous scope for collaboration on and investments in agricultural production.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman

This is according to Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman, in a recently broadcast interview with media personality Paul Moore. As he put it, Canada has a lot to offer Guyana.
“Canada is one of the largest agricultural countries in the world. We’re the fifth largest exporters of agricultural products. There are two million Canadians who work in the agricultural industry. It’s about seven per cent of our workforce. We export about $80 billion in agricultural products. So, we have a lot to offer in that area,” he said.
He recognised President Dr Irfaan Ali’s role as the leading champion of food security in the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the goal of a 25 per cent reduction in regional food imports by 2025.
Berman also noted that Guyana is one of only a handful of Caricom countries with agricultural potential. And in light of the MoU signed earlier this year, discussions on opportunities for partnerships between the two countries are ongoing.
“Really there are three countries within Caricom that have the agriculture potential. Suriname, Guyana and Belize. And so, there’s a real opportunity here. And so that’s an area we’re going to focus on, to try and encourage more investment and Canadian technology to assist with the growth of the agriculture sector.”
“That MoU was signed in February. And it was a strategic MoU. Since that time, we’ve had members, senior officials from the CCC, come to Guyana. And they’ve had a number of meetings with a number of the Ministries and private sector, to talk about opportunities,” Berman said.
The MoU in question was signed to facilitate the transfer of Canadian technology and expertise to Guyana as the country invests in the infrastructure, information and communications technologies, aerospace, clean tech, and security sectors.
The MoU further establishes a framework under which the two countries can strengthen their economic and commercial relations that will see more Canadians doing business in Guyana and Guyanese businesses investing in Canada.
Canada and Guyana already share a strong trade relationship, with the North American nation importing CA$199.6 million in merchandise from Guyana last year alone.
Guyana’s increased focus on agriculture is testimony to the Government’s efforts to diversify the economy. The 2022 Mid-Year Report shows that out of the $32.6 billion budgeted in the agriculture sector, $15.8 billion was spent. This money was spent on a number of things, including constructing major infrastructure, procurement of equipment and capacity building.
This month is Agriculture Month 2022, being observed under the theme, “Championing Food Security Through Innovation, Investment, and Resilience.” In his Agriculture Month message, President Ali had said that his Government is “unfazed” by the food security challenges.
The President had listed several elements of the national agricultural strategy, which include boosting critical agricultural infrastructure such as drainage and irrigation and farm to market roads. It also involves expanding non-traditional agriculture, such as aquaculture and pressing for greater export market access.
Other aspects of the strategy include investing in greater use of technology and incentivising the involvement of more young people and women in the sector, where their inclusion will enhance the sustainable production of food. (G3)