Brazilians to enhance agriculture sector with investment in savannahs
The Intermediate and Rupununi savannahs are being looked at for development, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder has revealed, and Brazilians are expected to invest in Guyana’s agriculture sector as early as year’s end.
“What the country really needs to launch a massive agricultural drive is that we need to have our entire country soil-mapped, so we know exactly what areas are best suited for what kind of crops. Other countries have done it — and Belize comes to mind — and they have taken off in terms of agricultural investment,” Minister Holder explained.
“We have a fair idea of the economic returns from things like corn, soya bean, and cattle production — both beef and dairy and small ruminants; orchard crops, citrus and things of that nature. We have done some feasibly studies on that, so we are in a position to say to potential investors ‘here is a package of things you can do, these are the expected returns’,” the minister said.
He said Brazil was very successful in developing its Roraima area, and that tax concessions were offered to big companies – a thing which Guyana can also do.
Steps are to be taken to enable Guyana’s agricultural produce to enter Brazil, following a meeting, earlier this year in Boa Vista, between Agriculture Minister Noel Holder and an advisor to the Governor of Roraima.
While engaged in talks with the former Governor and current Special Advisor to the Governor of Roraima, Neudo Ribeiro Campos, Minister Holder said, he expressed Guyana’s support for any efforts aimed at fostering closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
Several issues relative to cross border trade, the road from Lethem to Linden, a deep water harbor, and closer cooperation in the sharing of skills and expertise were also discussed. Campos promised action that would allow Guyana’s agriculture produce into Brazil. Agriculture produce from Guyana is currently blocked, due to fears that the Carambola Fruit Fly may be present here.
Through the assistance of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), Guyana was able to develop an information sharing system that allows easy reporting on the Carambola Fruit Fly. In its 2011 report, IICA noted that technical officers from Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture undertook eight field trips along the Guyana-Brazil border.
Campos extended an invitation for a technical team from Guyana to meet with its counterparts in Brazil to iron out issues of cross border trade.
“Trade with Guyana remains an important part of our Government’s agenda, and we will work to ensure that all avenues (are) sorted (out) and our relationship progress(es) even further,” he said.
The meeting between Guyana’s Agriculture Minister and the Brazilian State official also allowed for Brazil to again express its keen interest in working with Guyana towards construction of the road from Lethem to Linden, a deep water harbour, and the establishment of a hydro electricity generating facility for the supply of power to both countries.
The meeting between the two Governments was facilitated by NF Agriculture Inc, a Brazilian company currently engaged in a pilot project for the cultivation of soya beans and corn at Ebini, in the Berbice River.
The project by NF Agriculture Inc. involves the growing of soya beans and corn, and is expected to significantly aid the Caribbean in reducing its imports of those commodities.