Canada funds five-year regional agricultural projectTuesday, October 26, 2021
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, Tuesday welcomed the launch of a five year sustainable agriculture in the Caribbean (SAC) project, saying that it will provide opportunities and capacity for women and youths in various agricultural market systems in the region.
The CAD$20 million SAC project, is being funded by the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and will benefit an estimated 12,000 women, young people, and marginalised men in five Caribbean countries, namely Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Dominica, and St Lucia.
“The need to invest in agriculture could not be clearer. As such, Guyana is pleased to be joining our sister Caricom countries Jamaica, Suriname, Dominica, and St Lucia in this project,” said Mustapha.
He said the need to increase livelihoods, opportunities, and capacity for women and youth to participate in inclusive, sustainable, and climate-resilient agricultural market systems, are goals that are linked with the ministry's vision of having a competitive, dynamic, and diversified socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable agri-food system.
“The Government of Guyana aims to help farmers grow more, be better connected to markets, thereby earning more and living better lives. At the same time, the private sector has a role to play as enablers in this system to increase their productivity, improve the quality of their production and their reliability as suppliers, and help build strong producer organizations to access the markets,” Mustapha said.
The project was launched virtually by the World University Service of Canada and participants will be exposed to an agricultural project that will increase their impact on agricultural markets in the Caribbean while developing more environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient domestic agricultural markets for economic growth.
The SAC project was designed to facilitate linkages between key market actors, strengthen their capacity through training, information-sharing, and outreaches, and foster climate-resilient approaches at every stage and via a wide range of key market actors in the agricultural market system.
This approach is expected to help increase productivity and profitability in the agricultural sector, mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce the Region's vulnerability to natural disasters, and foster climate-resilient agricultural markets that offer increased equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economic benefits for women and youth.
Canada's High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman, said that there was an urgent need to build back better as Guyana's agriculture sector charts a path to recovery given the challenges brought on by the countrywide impacts of this year's May – June flood compiled with the ongoing global pandemic and issues of climate change.
“The launch of the SAC Project is particularly timely as we consider the challenge Guyana's food production system faced in 2021 with the countrywide impact of the May to June 2021 flood compiled with the ongoing global pandemic and the issues of climate change.
“As the sector charts a path to recovery and resilience, there is an urgent need to 'build back better”. Building back better requires a transformative agenda that involves making food production more diverse or sustainable, more efficient, and more inclusive.
“Inclusion of women and especially Guyana's indigenous communities are essential across many rural farming communities of Guyana, women are well-known producers of cash crops or vegetables, not only to feed their households but also to supply traders and markets,” Berman said.
In addition to achieving economic benefits for targeted agricultural markets actors, the SAC project also aims to pursue environmental sustainability in relation to Guyana's commitment to carbon emission and mitigation, pursue climate resilience and adopt climate-smart agricultural practices.