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Who Will Be the Bread Basket of the Caribbean?

Suriname said that it is aiming to be the bread basket of the Caribbean. Guyana’s neighbor said that is has a five year plan that would see it feeding the region. Today, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Gerrit Breinburg said that the country is currently examining ways it can start the process of providing the region with more food. He explained that a series of processes needs to be tackled and these include finalising Sanitary and phyto-santitary standards and labs among others. He said the country is already “sharing a lot of what we grow with Guyana” adding that some of its food finds its way into that country. He later said that imported potatoes and onions are finding their way across the border into Guyana.

Guyana is known across the region for growing, rearing and exporting its own agriculture and livestock  earning it the title “Bread Basket of the Region”

When asked to clarify the statement, Minister of Agriculture Soeresh Algoe said that the two countries share that title, “because Guyana alone cannot, Suriname alone cannot be the bread basket of the region. The idea is that together we can be the bread basket.”

The Minister said that two years ago the representatives of the two countries meet to discuss how they can assist each other with agriculture, rearing cattle and fisheries.

Minister Algoe said his country has been able to produce some of the most important foods it consumes including rice, cassava and vegetables. He explained that the importation of lettuce and sweet pepper have reduced significantly over the years.

This may be one of the reasons a small delegation from the Pacific may be looking to the Caribbean for ideas to reduce their food import bill. Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biodivesity of the Republic of Vanuatu, David Tosil Butulso met with Minister Algoe today. Minister Butulson said he is here to see how the two countries can strengthen their friendship and learn from each other.

“We are interested in partnership,  260,000 people, we have a very small population, 80 islands but most of our food are imported from other big countries.” The Minister said

This partnership between the Pacific and the Caribbean has been facilitated by the Centre for Technical and Rural Agriculture Cooperation, CTA. CTA Director Dr Michael Hailu feels that the two countries can learn from each other. CTA has been sponsoring CWA since 2009 and Minister Butulso’s visit could see the Pacific holding its week of agriculture next year.

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