There is currently a devastating plague of locusts, which started in the Middle East and is moving across Eastern Africa and parts of Asia. For example: to date Kenya, India and Pakistan have been impacted, and crops have been wiped out.
Many are expecting the impact of the plague to last several years, due to the heavy egg-laying of the locusts. The plague also covers thousands of kilometres and, in some instances, has resulted in losses greater than two billion pounds for this season’s crops.
The resulting and forecasted food shortage will have a tremendous impact on the food supply and health of those in the affected areas. Many are worried about the prospect of extensive starvation, given the extent of the negative impact of the locust plague on their country’s agriculture sector, and the resulting increases in food prices.
However, these unfortunate international circumstances also present opportunities for our rice farmers and our agriculture sector to be able to help our global brothers and sisters during these difficult times: By working closely with the United Nations and the affected country representatives in Guyana, a number of long-term supply contracts can be established.
The current developing international food supply shortage will also provide opportunities to quickly expand and grow our agriculture sector, and Guyana will be able to play its part as a responsible global citizen with our allies, while also reducing the level of unemployment and poverty within our nation. This presents a great opportunity for our laid off cane-cutters to re-enter the workforce.
Some may question why the need to send goods that far away, when our neighbours in Venezuela are facing similar food issues due to different underlying reasons. Hopefully, the time will eventually come when we can aid Venezuela, but we must first ensure that our border dispute is amicably resolved, and no international embargo is violated. Once this occurs, an UN-approved supply agreement could be established.
In regard to the discussion concerning Asia and Africa, a large portion of our citizens have their origins in those parts of the world. The situation in which Indians and Africans find themselves is not one of choice; as in the case with Venezuela, which can comply with the UN’s demands and change its current economic situation.
On the other hand, helping our extended family in those regions of our origin during these difficult times should be a top priority for us, given their inability to quickly change the developing food supply shortage and our strong historical & cultural connection. Any little we can do helps in this dire situation, and when one helps one’s extended family, it is as though one is also helping oneself.