We cannot afford to continue neglecting the families and small businesses working in the food production sector. Not only is food security crucial to our survival in the future (freeing us from imports), it’s a business providing livelihoods for 60,000 families or more today. We need to make the business–whether it is rice, sugar cane, poultry, dairy, coconut, short crops or fishing–safe, profitable, and sustainable.
- Farm roads are in a bad state and more improvement projects are needed in this area.
- Businesses wishing to export face heavy fees and taxes.
- Farmers cannot afford the cost of new machinery, especially with VAT being added to the price. To make things worse, borrowing comes at a high cost and small farmers are often refused the financing they need to grow.
- Fisherfolk are exposed to every day from risks ranging from weather to piracy
- All producers suffer from having no public, centrally organized facilities for food storage, processing, and shipping
- For the rice farming community, there is too much uncertainty in the supply of water. We need better coordination among the National Drainage & Irrigation Authority (NDIA), the Regional Administrations (RA) and the Water Users.
Change Guyana will advocate in Parliament to:
- Remove VAT and duties on capital purchases of equipment for the agricultural sectors
- Adjust the tax codes so there is no need to apply to Goinvest or a Minister for exemptions
- Improve infrastructure in agricultural areas across our country to improve access, productivity, and reduce post-harvest losses for agricultural and fishing sectors
- Bring better quality of medical care to rural areas, so families will not have the added burden of travelling to facilities in Georgetown
- Reform the GRDB to improve its research and development capability
- Cut the high cost of export of rice including the export commission to GRDB.
- Mandate GRA to absorb the cost of scanning export containers
- Work to develop a culture of service to the agricultural sector in the Ministry of Agriculture
- Offer fiscal incentives for export of all types of foods
- Convert NARI into a Research and Development Entity to prepare profiles and protocols for new crops for plantation style development
- Agriculture processing and Fish processing to meet international standards, earn foreign currency and be integrated into the national economy
- Create an E-Market Portal for the Agriculture and Fishing Sectors
- Establish a Public Private Partnership for Crop Insurance
- Review the Role of the Agriculture Development Bank