Guyana Gov’t asks FAO for guidance on using technology to boost agriculture

Madanlall Ramraj

The Government has appealed to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to assist farmers in the use technology to boost production.

Director General in the Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj made the appeal in his address at the 36th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean on Wednesday.

“Guyana requests that the FAO expand their programmes in the region in these areas. There is a need for specialised staff at the level of the Ministry, in the identified agro-technological areas that will be able to train farmers. Also, there is a need for consideration of incentives for farmers to access digital tools,” Mr. Ramraj stated.

The Director General said for local farmers to become more competitive they require accurate local weather forecasts, advice on agricultural practices, input use, including the use of agricultural tools with digital technologies embedded in them, and real-time information about prices and market logistics.

This requires training of agricultural technology specialists in these technologies and promoting their availability through a joint effort with the private sector. He also noted that Guyana’s liberalising of its telecommunications sector, which will provide faster internet, that is more efficient, less costly and with better bandwidth, would support these efforts.

Making use of soil testing kits, digital planting, and harvesting equipment, the Director General stated would be vital in assisting farmers to get the information they need in making farm management decisions and promoting transformative agricultural development.

“We, therefore, request greater assistance from the FAO and other development partners to strengthen our technical capacities to develop innovative and digital policy agendas, increase usage of digital and innovative agriculture practices for access to extension services, farmers and agro-processors, improving the marketing of outputs, and facilitating logistics,” the Director General stated.

Additionally, Ramraj said that a review of Guyana’s Agriculture Disaster Risk Management strategy is necessary to ensure that updated ICTs are being promoted. This, he highlighted, will ensure there is timely access to all relevant information which could minimise the effects of disasters on the sector.