Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Food security, a concept which was first introduced in the early 1970s with an emphasis on the volume and stability of food supplies, has since been refined, gaining greater focus as Governments make concerted efforts to attain food-secure status for their countries.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Food security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”


“Agriculture cannot operate without adequate infrastructure and that’s growing. Large government investments have been made in that sector and we will make sure that the policy environment and the incentives are constantly aligned to encourage production,” President Bharrat Jagdeo said at the launch of phase two of the Grow More Food campaign on August 17.

Special breeds of pigs distributed to farmers to boost the swine industry

Launched under the theme: “Grow more food in a climate smart way” at Square of the Revolution, farmers received seeds, other planting materials, breeding animals (pigs) and feed. They were encouraged to adopt a more climate-conscious approach to agriculture. The new phase of the campaign, apart from its advocacy on enhancing the food production scale, focuses on climate adaptation farming methods such as drip irrigation, and high ground planting.
The Grow More Food Campaign was launched in March 2008 in an effort to increase food production in Guyana by adopting a market-led approach.
This was realized through the implementation of a five-step plan; the establishment of the agriculture export diversification project, rural enterprise and agricultural development project, enhanced extension services and improved drainage and irrigation services and increased access to seeds and planting materials.

Several initiatives by the Government have seen Guyana attaining the status of a ‘food secure’ nation, as focus these past years has shifted to diversifying the agriculture sector and exploring new income generating avenues. Leading the way is the ‘Jagdeo Initiative on Agriculture’ which addresses the constraints in the Region, resulting in several efforts at the regional level to advance food security efforts.

Major projects that have been implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture that directly and indirectly address issues pertaining to food security are: the Agricultural Export Diversification programme (US$21.9M), the Agricultural Support Services Programme (US$22M), Rural Enterprise Development Project (US$6M) and Rice and Beans Project for Hinterland Communities (US$0.65M).

Drainage works being done in Bare Root, ECD

This year, Government allocated $9.2B to the agriculture sector, compared to $8B in 2010 to further develop the sector.


One of the initiatives to help realize a ‘new agriculture vision’ for Guyana is set on the premise of the ‘Jagdeo Initiative’ that identifies and defines the key constraints facing agricultural development in the Caribbean region.
The ‘new agriculture vision’ aims at making the sector more than just the production of food by exploring the numerous opportunities that exist for agro-businesses which will create more employment, increase export earnings and the incomes of all stakeholders especially farmers.
In January 2005, President Bharrat Jagdeo’s proposal to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was formally dubbed the ‘Jagdeo Initiative-Strengthening Agriculture for Sustainable Development’. The proposal was endorsed by members of the agri-business sector, the forum of Ministers of Agriculture and the 2005 Heads of Government Conference.

Black pepper vine growing and fruiting,in Region One

In 2007, Caribbean Heads of Government met at a special meeting of donors and, among other actions, it was decided that the Jagdeo Initiative would be implemented over the next 18 months. It identifies and defines key, crucial and binding constraints to agricultural repositioning in the Caribbean Region and aims to develop and implement targeted, focused and practical interventions at both the regional and national levels to overcome the constraints.
Limited financing and inadequate new investments, outdated and inefficient agricultural health and food safety systems, inadequate research and development and fragmented and unorganized private sectors are some of the constraints that were identified. In pursuing the ‘Jagdeo Initiative,’ several interventions were made by Government to help realise the country’s agricultural potential.

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