Guyana will soon reclaim the title of “Bread Basket of the Region”. This journey was accelerated with the opening of an institute for food and nutrition security this morning at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre.
At that forum, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder said that the institute will organize Guyana’s fragmented food safety system.
“Since Guyana is increasing its efforts to improve the performance of the agriculture sector and other food safety-related sectors, it is critical that we have a system which is transparent, excludes overlaps and gaps in responsibilities and which allows for strict accountability throughout the entire food safety system,” Minister Holder said.
In his remarks, UG’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith noted that with the advent of the oil and gas industry, it would be wise for Guyana not to put all “its eggs in the oil basket” and neglect the potential of agriculture.
“This institute is part of the university’s contribution to the green state… it will enable us not to neglect agriculture, by doing the instruction, by doing the research, by doing the advocacy along with other entities, domestic and international”
Professor Griffith also noted that while Guyana produces large quantities of food, much is wasted due to the lack of knowledge of value-added production. Consequently, the institute will be undertaking a number of workshops throughout the country.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative Rueben Robertson said since the institute is aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030, partnerships are necessary. Robertson noted that the partnership with the University will result in the accumulation of the kind of evidence-based information that will contribute to informed actions and policies that will address, among other things, food and nutrition and diet.
In the long term, Robertson said that the hope is that the institute will be the repository of information through research that will achieve a Caribbean without hunger.
The launch of the institute is a collaboration between the University of Guyana and the Food and Agriculture Organization.