IN a bid to improve its efforts in meeting stakeholder demands and making profitable investments, the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Sustainable Agriculture Development Programme (SADP) on Friday launched an agriculture survey at the Regency Suites Hotel.
The $20 million project, which is being funded by the Inter Development Bank (IDB), will see the collection of data from approximately 4,000 farmers residing in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six East Berbice-Corentyne), and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice). Some 100 enumerators are expected to be trained to conduct the survey.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, in brief remarks, explained that the pilot project will see the creation of a register of farmers, inclusive of what they produce, where they are located, and how much they are producing.
“This will help us to know who are the farmers of our country; to know where they are located, and the amount of crop they are producing,” Minister Mustapha said, adding that the data being collected will also assist the government with crafting realistic policies and targeted projects to further develop the sector and the country.
“When we set programmes, especially in the agriculture sector, we have to be more realistic, because we are dealing with food and food security, and today, when the world is at a food crisis in terms of food security, we have to be accurate in setting goals and setting our programmes,” the minister said.
He said the project is long overdue, because the ministry has not conducted such surveys in years.
Minister Mustapha further explained that without the proper data, the ministry is unable to establish and create targeted projects to assist stakeholders, and as such, the survey is of much importance.
“Without proper analysis, knowledge and proper survey, I don’t think we can set a realistic programme; a programme that is accurate enough, so that we can capture all the activities that people are doing,” he said, adding: “It is also important to us, because when our country is at the verge of diversifying its agriculture sector [in] consolidating and diversifying our traditional sector… this information will help us tremendously in deciding where to diversify, where to consolidate and where to expand.”
Mustapha disclosed that once the pilot project is completed, the ministry will be looking to expand it further to ensure that all farmers are registered.
Meanwhile, Lorena Solorzano-Salazar, acting Country Representative for the IDB, said the project marks a significant undertaking in the country’s agriculture sector.
“This is important because we need the information of where we are in the agriculture sector.… It’s a milestone for the sector to start this survey aligned with our IDB mission 2025, along with the agenda for promoting actions and knowledge in climate change and maximising the growth production and fostering investments,” Solorzano-Salazar said.
Once collected, the data will also be used to improve Guyana’s national agricultural statistical system in order to provide an updated description of the structural characteristics of the agriculture systems in the targeted regions.