Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was originally projected to grow some 4.6 percent for 2019. At the half-year, this projection was revised downwards, marginally, to 4.5 percent. Before the close of the year however, the Bureau of Statistics, with technical assistance from the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) updated the methodology used to generate the national accounts statistics, including the GDP. This revision brought the methodology Guyana uses in line with international standards.
As a result of these updates, the GDP has recorded a 5.4 percent growth rate, with the non-oil real GDP increasing by 4.3 percent. This was documented in the latest End of Year Outcome Report for 2019. According to the report, the estimated real GDP for 2019 was supported by significant expansions across most major sectors, including mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction and services.
The Guyana Standard understands that stronger growth was constrained by a marginal decline of 0.5 percent in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, despite gains in rice, other crops and fishing. It was noted that the quantity of paddy harvested in 2019, reached 1,049,874 metric tonnes, the highest level since 2015, when the industry attained record production of 1,058,129 metric tonnes. Production in 2019 also surpassed the 2018 harvest by 8.8 percent, or 84,755 metric tonnes, resulting in growth in the rice cultivation industry of one percent, in 2019.
With respect to other crops’ production, this expanded by 0.3 percent, as a result of increased production of pumpkin, cocoa, ginger, peppers and pineapples.
The fishing industry experienced mixed outcomes. Finfish production increased by 19.7 percent over the previous year and shrimp production declined by 28 percent, on account of the sargassum weed invasion, among other factors. Nevertheless, this subsector expanded by 0.7 percent.
As for the sugar industry, the Ministry of Finance which prepared the report noted that production contracted by 11.8 percent in 2019, with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) falling significantly short of its production target (see Table attached to this article).
The Ministry was keen to note that there were remarkable gains in the livestock subsector. Egg production grew by 45.3 percent, beef production by 32.6 percent, pork by 66.8 percent, and mutton and chevon by 8.1 percent. Poultry production it said, did not recover sufficiently to overcome the decline recorded at the half-year. This resulted in a 7.8 percent decline in poultry production, in 2019, which, in turn, led to a contraction in the livestock subsector of 3.5 percent.
The forestry subsector recorded notable gains at the half-year that persisted into the third quarter; however, these were undone in the final quarter of 2019, resulting in a contraction of 3.9 percent for the entire year.