Following three days of regional collaboration, the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo has concluded. But Professor Dr. Wayne Ganpat, former Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at the University of the West Indies, has called for more focus on domestic food production. The former UWI Dean told Guardian Media during an interview that while he lauds the need for collaboration between this country and its regional counterparts—namely Guyana, he said those in authority must look at the agriculture sector domestically to ensure stable food markets.
“There had been several attempts before to get food producing regionally in Guyana and other countries, including Suriname and Belize. I think this is the third effort, and I really wish this will be successful, but countries should not leave their domestic food production behind,” Professor Ganpat said.
With the Government’s plan to reduce the food import bill by 25 percent by 2025, Professor Ganpat lauds this attempt. He, however, suggested this be done with a greater focus on local food production.
“There has been very little effort over the years to support domestic production of food across several governments. Farmers are crying out to us for seeds, reduction in prices for fertilizers, and new seeds. Now given what I heard, the Prime Minister said that you need to ramp up the technologies and support them. The University of the West Indies faculty for agriculture has to have all the technologies. It is just the investment to get it going and people to fund us to do it beyond the classroom and into the fields, but we have the technologies for greenhouse agriculture, we have the technologies for fishing houses, we have technologies for doing precision agriculture, value-added.”
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