Guyana to ask CARICOM for Brazil’s Roraima State to join regional agricultural task force

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 May 2022, 12:28 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali on Sunday announced that Brazil’s Roraima State would be applying to be part of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) agriculture task force with the aim of producing grains for supply to the region.

In exchange for Roraima State offering technology, investment and partnership to Guyana, he said CARICOM leaders at their next summit in July would be asked to include the State’s representative on the regional agricultural ministerial council.  “In exchange, we have committed to taking to the Heads (of Government), a proposal that the State of Roraima be part of the ministerial task f0rce on agriculture from CARICOM,” said Dr. Ali who is responsible for agriculture in CARICOM’s quasi-cabinet.

The Guyanese leader made the announcement one day after he and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley visited the southern Guyanese town of Lethem near the border with neighbouring Brazil to explore agricultural prospects.  Under  Guyana’s chairmanship, the other task force member states are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, The Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr. Ali said Roraima State agriculture representatives would be participating in an agri forum in August, 2022.  He said he also spoke with the Secretary of Agriculture want to be part of both supply and production of food with CARICOM. “They want to be integrated into this vision of CARICOM. They want to be part of this and I think it is an excellent opportunity for a win-win,” the Guyanese leader said.

“You are talking here a bout onion, soya oil, wheat, “all the grains that we could utilise in CARICOM for all our food production needs. All the fruits that could go into our productive sector but more importantly everything they do on their their side can be done on our side of the border,” Dr Ali said.

CARICOM hopes to reduce its US$6 billion food import bill by 25 percent by 2025, more so at a time of skyrocketing food prices and food shortages due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister on Saturday accompanied President Ali and other CARICOM leaders to Lethem.