With the oil and gas industry paving the way for Guyana’s development, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin has reiterated the importance of other sectors in the country’s economy, primarily the agricultural and agro-processing sectors.This announcement was made at the launch of Marketplace Uncapped, an exhibition aimed at promoting the products of local manufacturers in Guyana.During his address, Minister Gaskin stressed on the significance of understanding how greatly the agricultural sector affected the country and the opportunities that were possible from Guyana’s growing agro-processing industry.“It’s important to note that our government sees the agricultural and agro-processing sector as priority sectors, because we too understand that long after the oil has been extracted and there’s no more left, we still need to eat and feed others,” he stated.Some of the locally-manufactured productsCurrently, the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) is working with small-scale manufacturers to highlight their businesses. While the use of quality ingredients is a requirement, packaging also plays an important role in gaining the customers’ attention. As such, Gaskin encouraged local producers to have their items featured at exhibitions to improve in these areas.The Minister revealed, “Our job is not to criticise those whose packaging is not that attractive, but to help them appreciate the need to not only compete on the basis of your ingredients, but on how well you package and how attractive your product is – when it is lined up on the supermarket shelf next to imported products and other products.”“We’re also trying to help smaller producers who don’t yet understand the benefit of packaging, ensuring that their goods are properly packaged and labelled,” he said.While adding that employment was created for farmers by small business ventures, Gaskin also emphasised the fact that Guyana’s import bill has been reduced, stating: “All these things are good for farmers, because we know that we import these foods. Every year, there is a high import bill that we have to face and if we can produce them locally and process them locally and make them available for local consumption, then we’re ahead of the game.”During his remarks, Minister Gaskin also touched on the fact that Guyana no longer exported catfish to the United States of America (USA). This is in light of the non-compliance with the United States Food Safety Modernisation Act, which he thinks should be fulfilled urgently. The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) is collaborating with the University of Hawaii on educational programmes, which will assist with compliance on these requirements.“It doesn’t help us to sit down and attributing blame to each other. What we need to figure out: what needs to be done, what are the requirements, how can we help each other to achieve these requirements,” he stated.Presently, the Agriculture Ministry has embarked on a sustainable agricultural plan, which is financed through a US$15 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and is expected to impact the agricultural sector in a tremendous way. Spices such as turmeric and black pepper are also being cultivated in various areas in Region One (Barima-Waini). Additionally, the Business Ministry is working on two incubators, in Berbice and Lethem, which will assist small operators.While these are all systems that were put in place to diversify and develop the country’s agro-processing industry, the Business Minister, in his final comments, highlighted that for the sector to emerge victorious, consumers must patronise these businesses and buy the products, which are no less of good quality than imported products.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Door prizes donated by individuals and businesses and a 50-50 drawing will also be featured. “We’ll welcome anyone, especially any veteran, who wants to join us for the free meal, entertainment and information on the home,” said Post Cmdr. Daniel Brooks, who will be master of ceremonies. Committee members will be cooking 50 pounds of beef and making a homemade barbecue sauce. The sandwiches will be served with salad and dessert. Beverages will be available at the Post’s no-host bar. “We aren’t charging for the food, but we will certainly welcome all free-will offerings and additions to our treasury’s total,” Marr said. This column disseminates news of interest to seniors of all ages. Bettie Rencoret can be contacted at (661) 943-2998, or messages can be left at the Daily News’ Antelope Valley office, (661) 267-5742. LANCASTER – “We haven’t forgotten” will be the theme of a benefit dinner for a Lancaster state veterans home amenities fund. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7283, 45541 Sierra Highway. A free meal featuring barbecue beef sandwiches, entertainment by Gypsee and Band and information on the home will be provided. Donations will be accepted for the amenities fund, which will go toward buying TVs, gardening tools, magazine subscriptions and other extras. “We’re doing this to say ‘thank you’ to the community for all the support they’ve given us,” said Ruth Marr, event chairwoman. “Maybe this will even encourage more people to come forward and join our crusade to furnish the home with the amenities that won’t be provided by government funding.” During the event, Tom Craft, amenities fund committee chairman, will deliver a “status of the home” report and a background review. Craft, a retired Navy officer, has headed the committee since its inception more than 12 years ago.