Last Updated on Monday, 20 November 2023, 14:55 by Denis Chabrol
President Irfaan Ali on Monday said sharp increase in fruits and vegetables was due to the prolonged drought that has damaged and destroyed produce, prompting government to attempt the cushion the impact of the dry season by providing fertiliser to farmers and cash grants to thousands of Guyanese.
“Our famers are faced with a prolonged dry season- drought conditions. Yield has reduced, productivity has reduced. In some areas, some farms have been burnt out because of extreme heat and this has caused a drop in supply,” he told reporters shortly after addressing the opening of the European Union’s first trade mission to Guyana.
The GY$5 billion cost of living allocation in the 2023 National Budget, he said, has been used to supply fertiliser to farmers and the hosting of farmers’ markets by the Ministry of Agriculture to keep the cost down to consumers.
With the dry season expected to continue until the first quarter of 2024, the Guyanese leader said government was “working with supporting farmers so that their input costs can come down.
The President said he could not predict when the cost of produce would be reduced as that would depend on rainfall, an external variable that government could not control. “We can’t turn a switch on and say rain will come tomorrow,” he said, adding that government was implementing measures to reduce inflation and maintain food supply.
A Stabroek Market vegetable vendor said the price of pumpkin was GY$1,000 per piece before Diwali but it has since dropped to GY$700. Pumpkin is used to make 7-curry.
The Guyana government recently announced a GY$25,000 bonus for pensioners, disabled, recipients of public assistance and some government workers.