Find Agriculture expertise in Guyana
Guyana’s agricultural sector is a vital contributor to the country’s economy and, together with forestry and fisheries, accounts for 17% of GDP (2010). Approximately 15% of the country’s population are employed in the sector (2010). The sugar and rice industries are at the forefront of agricultural production. Other agricultural products include edible oils, beef, pork and poultry. The production of sugar has traditionally been the basis of the country’s main source of foreign exchange, whilst the production of rice has been its main staple. However, the sugar industry on the island has seen a decline since the 1980s with high production costs damaging its place in the increasingly competitive sector. The production of rice has also declined, with both products facing changes in the global trading environment, notably the reduction of guaranteed prices for rice and sugar in the European Union. Yet rice and sugar are still the most profitable produce – exports generated US$173,192,000 and US$116,542,000 respectively in 2010.
In some areas of the country peanut production is also an important part of agriculture, such as in the remote Rupununi area where peanut farming dominates the local economy and provides a main source of income to farmers. Agriculture in the country has been limited by the landscape with large plains of land below sea-level which require dykes and dams for protection, raising agricultural production costs. In 2010 agricultural land accounted for 8.5% of total land area. The high country savannah in the interior is suitable for ranching, but is also remote and involves high transportation costs, limiting the industry. Agriculture is central to the livelihoods of Guyana’s rural population and the government has placed an emphasis on developing the sector in order to improve the conditions for those dependent on agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture is the government body responsible for the country’s agricultural sector.
In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012-13) Guyana placed 45th in the world (out of 144 countries) in terms of its balanced agricultural policy costs, with a value of 4.2 out of 7, above the world mean of 3.9.
In order to develop agriculture in the country, the sector has to be made attractive to the young generations, particularly as half the population reside in the capital of Georgetown. There is much potential for the fertile coastal plain to be developed into a modern and remunerative industry, with investment in modern technology and effective management.
The government and the private sector in the country continue their efforts to diversify away from a reliance on the sugar and rice industries. However, investment is also being put into the traditional exports in order to expand towards non-European Union markets.
|Agriculture organisations in Guyana|
|Farfan & Mendes Ltd||
|Guyana Rice Development Board||
|GuySuCo - Guyana Sugar Corporation||
|Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture||
|K Rahaman & Sons||
|Ministry of Agriculture||