12.I.1 The term "non-traditional agriculture" is used in Guyana to include all components of the agricultural sector with the exception of rice, sugar, forestry and fishing.

12.I.2 The major non-traditional crops (NTCs) are the following: Cereals and Legumes: corn, blackeye, minica; Oilseeds: peanut and coconut; Ground Provisions: cassava, sweet potatoes, eddoes, yam, tania/dasheen, plantains; Vegetables and greens: tomatoes, cabbage, pumpkin, bora, ochro, boulanger, squash, cucumber; Herbs, Spices and Seasonings: eschallot, hot pepper, ginger, tumeric; Fruits: banana, pineapple, pear, carambola and watermelon; Other Fruits: mangoes, genip, cherry, awara; Citrus: lime, grapefruit, orange; Other Crops: Coffee, cocoa and cotton; pasture/forage, ornamentals and floriculture.

12.I.3 Livestock includes dairy and beef cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, wildlife and other livestock such as rabbits and bees.

12.I.4 Non-traditional crops are geographically distributed across the 10 regions.

12.I.5 Except for coconut palms, almost all of the fruits, vegetables, legumes and ground provisions are grown by a large number of small farmers mostly along the coastal belt and in the riverain areas, but also in enclaves in the intermediate savannahs and in the townships which border neighbouring countries. In contrast the production of coconut palms is largely concentrated in the coastal areas, and is achieved chiefly by large farmers.

12.I.6 Small farmers produce all fruit and most vegetables grown in Guyana, 80 percent of the grain crops, 60 percent of the coconuts, and 40 percent of the palm oil.

12.I.7 Non-traditional agriculture comprises farming systems that are small in scale, use a low level of technology, and are labour intensive. Subsistence farming, a tendency to stick to traditional agricultural practices, and an absence of supportive services to encourage farmers to adopt improved methodologies for increasing production and productivity also characterise the sub-sector. However, the sub-sector's contribution to the livelihood of rural households, national food security, and foreign exchange earnings are not insignificant.

12.I.8 Guyana is self-sufficient in vegetables (including root crops and tubers), fruits, beef and mutton. Indeed, it is virtually self-sufficient in all crops, except spice and vegetables. Moreover, eggs, poultry and milk production has increased considerably in recent years.

12.I.9 Although the sub-sector's export potential remains relatively untapped, overseas markets are opening for a wide variety of crops and will gain momentum with the advent of improved marketing arrangements. The cases of pineapple and plantain are especially noteworthy but there is a growing awareness of production and export possibilities for many other non-traditional crops.

12.I.10 The agri-business and agro-industrial development of the sub-sector are in the hands of small, poorly resourced independent operators, and the supply chain is characterised by low productivity, high post-harvest losses, high prices to consumers and praedial larceny. Nonetheless, the sector provides sustenance to the rural poor, most of whom are self-employed in agriculture or are workers in the rice and sugar industries, both of which are seasonal.

12.I.11 Export volumes of non-traditional crops have increased through the initiatives of small traders rather than through organised and adequately financed operations.

12.I.12 Most of the crop farmers in Guyana are involved in mixed crop farming. Current agronomic practices are consistent with those for systems of low level technological packages.



12.II.1 Land and Infrastructure

12.II.1.1 The administration of State lands is inefficient, leading to the frustration of farmers' efforts to obtain information on leases and the availability of unutilised idle land. In addition, there is imprecision in the identification of boundaries.

12.II.1.2 There is no clear demarcation of which land falls under the jurisdictions of the Lands and Surveys Department, the Geology and Mines Commission, and the Forestry Commission.

12.II.1.3 There is growing competition for available land among traditional and non-traditional crops, housing, and industrial land developers.

12.II.1.4 The historical layout of drainage and irrigation infrastructure is consistent with what is required for rice and sugar, but is not necessarily appropriate for the economic production of NTCs and livestock. Yet the necessary modifications to the land infrastructure have not been made, even in cases when farmers wish to emphasise NTCs and livestock.

12.II.2 Extension Services, Research and Development

12.II.2.1 Extension services and research and development are under the jurisdiction, or depend upon, too many government, semi-autonomous, and regional and international agencies that are too dispersed and ineffective.

12.II.2.2 Limited funding, staff shortages, low salaries, poor transport facilities, and inadequate and infrequent meetings of personnel impede collaboration and coordination.

12.II.2.3 Research is sometimes unrelated to the needs of farmers and is spread out over a wide range of crops in diverse geographical zones.

12.II.2.4 The sub-sector is not structured along the lines of those developed for rice and sugar. As a result, incentive packages and specific programmes for some components of the industry have been neglected.

12.II.2.5 Regional training sessions are sporadic. All were cancelled in 1998.

12.II.3 Socio-cultural and economic constraints

12.II.3.1 There is a high incidence of praedial larceny in the sub-sector.

12.II.3.2 There is a high incidence of migration, especially of youths, from the rural to the urban areas.

12.II.3.3 There is much gender discrimination in employment practices

12.II.4 Marketing

12.II.4.1 The production of NTCs and livestock is not guided effectively by market intelligence services. The seasonality of export demand, weather patterns, and input price fluctuations leads to a very unstable supply of produce ranging from gluts to scarcity. Input availability, soil types, farmers' experience and perceived demand also govern production levels and farmers' choices of commodities. There is poor organisation among farmers at local and national levels, and hence there is little exchange of experience and no coordinated effort to obtain information on external markets.

12.II.4.2 Essential marketing linkages (local and overseas) are limited. Knowledge of existing trends in prices and demand, and of the availability of supplies, is therefore restricted. Much needed information on existing acreages, costs of production, seasonality etc., that is required for farmers' planning purposes is poorly collated.

12.II.5 Transportation

12.II.5.1 Inadequate transportation infrastructure and poor transport services are a major impediment to the marketing of agricultural products within and out of Guyana. Poor transportation services contribute to the wide spread between ex-farm and retail prices. Riverain producers and consumers are particularly subject to very inadequate transportation linkages, but, in general, both water and road transport are unreliable and high priced. Local roads are in very poor conditions.

12.II.5.2 Exporters are seriously inconvenienced by poor port facilities, limited cargo space, and the frequent need for transhipment of goods through Trinidad.

12.II.6 Storage and handling

12.II.6.1 The extreme unavailability of power and potable water supplies are major causes of post-harvest losses and are a most serious constraint to the development of milk pasteurisation units and meat storage facilities.

12.II.6.2 The country has a shortage of trained cadres in post-harvest technology and very few entrepreneurs in agro-processing. A high percentage of wastage therefore results, and less than one percent of total production is exported.

12.II.6.3 The six established wholesale marketing centres (except Black Bush Polder) have been sidelined by private initiatives and local retail markets (34 municipal and 36 roadside), and are poorly serviced with basic amenities.

12.II.7 Product Standards

12.II.7.1 The handling of foods in production, manufacturing, transportation, storage and in other stages in the farm-to-market chain leaves much to be desired. The health and the nutritional status of the population are affected by adulteration, and the presence of industrial pollutants, environmental contaminants, toxins and chemical residues in the food consumed. The Government Analyst's Department cannot effectively oversee all stages of food production, and seems to concentrate its activities on the microbiological surveillance of retailed food.

12.II.7.2 Legislation to ensure that standards are met for the inputs used by the sub-sector is not enforced.

12.II.8 Credit and Investment

12.II.8.1 The highly risky nature of agricultural production in an environment that is not supportive of its development is not conducive to the procurement of lines of credit. Lending agencies do not seek out businesses in rural districts and are truly ignorant of farmers' financial needs. For whatever reason, GAIBANK, the major agricultural lending agency in the past, did not seek to recover funds expeditiously from defaulters. This has assisted in creating a poor credit servicing mentality in rural areas, which in turn increases the difficulties of obtaining new credit.

12.II.8.2 Prospective investors in NTCs and livestock have been unable to fulfill the conditionalities of creditors, and have been discouraged by unattractive terms for financing. Misleading investment guidelines further exacerbate the farmers' predicament. Tax evasion and nonpayment of duties are prevalent in the system.

12.II.9 Labour and Other Inputs

12.II.9.1 For the most part, agricultural labour has over the years moved into the rice, logging and sugar subsectors, or totally out of agriculture. The difficulties that farmers experience in obtaining basic inputs (particularly from overseas) and the low prevailing income levels are disincentives to the development of the subsector.

12.II.10 Education and Training


12.II.10.1 The teaching of agriculture in primary schools was catered for by the fifth component of the SSEE syllabus but this was discontinued in the early 1980s, due to financial and staffing constraints. At the secondary school level Agricultural Science is offered at CXC. The number of students taking this subject is extremely low, and the proportion of passes derisory.


12.II.10.2 Pre- and post-service training in agriculture is provided by the Faculties of Agriculture and Education of the University of Guyana, the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), the Regional Educational Programme for Animal Health Assistants (REPAHA), the Agricultural In-service Training Communication Center (AITCC), the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the Ministry of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock (MOFC&L), and the National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NARI). Most of these institutions lack adequate teaching instruments, do not offer programmes that are relevant to the country's developmental needs, are strapped for funds, and do not have the required numbers of skilled teachers. The end result is under-qualified and poorly trained graduates, unable to function in the farming communities to which they are later exposed.

Continuous farmer training

12.II.10.3 Apart from the Dairy Training Centre at the St. Stanislaus College farm, there is no teaching institute established specifically for training farmers.

12.II.11 Germplasm Supply

12.II.11.1 Germplasm is produced both by the governmental and privately owned agencies. Collectively they are unable to satisfy the demand for plants and, apart from using old stock, are in need of infrastructural rehabilitation. This problem is now being addressed.

12.II.12 Plant Protection and Quarantine Services

12.II.12.1 The inadequate monitoring of our ports, places the country's agriculture at risk. Guyana's plant health capabilities are inadequate and, accordingly, the country is unable to make definitive statements on the incidence of pests and diseases. This affects the ability to export.

12.II.12.2 The Office of the Quarantine Services has no authority to withhold a consignment after Customs' clearance. Very often, because of the ignorance of the staff of the Customs' Department, importers are allowed to clear agricultural products without import licenses, phytosanitation certificates or inspections from Plant Quarantine officers.

12.II.12.3 The country has no facilities for the bulk treatment of fruits and vegetables earmarked for export.

12.II.13 Livestock

12.II.13.1 Guyana is "self-sufficient" in fresh meats but not in milk and poultry. Although the production of milk and poultry has increased considerably over the years, livestock production is still well below its potential capacity. The industry requires a well-coordinated infusion of support services to sustain and increase production, and ultimately to capture export markets. Low level technological applications prevail in the subsector, and farmers (particularly pig and small ruminants producers) operate largely at subsistence levels.


12.II.13.2 Liveweight gains, milk production and the reproductive performance of all livestock classes are sub-optimal because of inadequate nutritional programmes.

12.II.13.3 The supply of readily available energy-based feeds, rice bran and wheat middlings, has been reduced abruptly because these products are exported to preferential markets for cargo rice, and because of the unlimited importation of processed flour.

12.II.13.4 Protein feeds are imported at high costs, thus contributing to the elevated prices for poultry and pork.

12.II.13.5 Ruminant producers continue to compete with traditional crop farmers for land for pasturage.

Animal Health

12.II.13.6 The country's livestock population is relatively disease-free except for endo- and ecto-parasitic burdens and their associated diseases. Tuberculosis in cattle has been identified in some enclaves. Poultry producers have been experiencing undiagnosed conditions of respiratory ailments and nervous (tremor) syndromes. Pigs and small ruminants continue to be affected by endo-parasitic burdens that have not been evaluated.

12.II.13.7 The veterinary services offered by MOFC&L are very poorly supported, and veterinarians are incapable of carrying out their functions because of the lack of transportation, drugs, equipment and facilities. A case in point is the inability to carry out the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme because of the inadequacy of transportation.

Genetic Improvement

12.II.13.8 There are no specialised breeding programmes in place, except for cattle via the National Dairy Development Programme's (NDDP) Artificial Insemination Service, which uses imported frozen semen from improved beef and dairy breeds.

12.II.13.9 Poultry and swine breeding is ad hoc, and mainly consists of a selection process. The introduction of new breeds for these classes of livestock is at a standstill.

12.II.13.10 For all types of livestock financial constraints and the absence of adequate physical facilities inhibit progress in animal breeding in relation to acquiring germplasm for tropically adapted breeds from overseas, and establishing evaluation programmes.

12.II.13.11 There is no monitoring agency to document and evaluate what is occurring in the field, though it is known that farmers, based on their own preferences and experience, are conducting breeding experiments.


12.II.13.12 The constraints highlighted in the paragraphs relating to nutrition, health and genetic improvement are indicative of the low level of management practices that are employed in livestock rearing. Poultry and pig rearing is basically intensive, while cattle, sheep and goats graze extensively in very diverse management systems. Ruminant livestock are generally considered as a family asset, only to be drawn upon as the need arises and not to be developed economically. Farmers do not seek to find markets for their meat animals but sell only when approached by butchers and middlemen. Poultry farmers tend to plan for the immediate future and frequently make market predictions that lead to economic losses in addition to causing serious disruptions in supply. New approaches to integrated farming practices have not caught on with the farming community, despite the fact that many small producers have both livestock and crops on their farmsteads. Often, one activity influenced by short-term market conditions will be undertaken to the detriment of another.



12.III.1 The overall objective of the sector is to increase the rate of growth of its output, in the knowledge that by doing so a most significant number of job opportunities would be created.



12.IV.1 Extension Services, Research and Development

12.IV.1.1 A modern computerised information centre to facilitate the collection, storage and retrieval of agricultural information, will be established at NARI.

12.IV.1.2 Research and development studies will be concentrated on selected commodities and in geographically delineated zones. The selection of the commodities will be based on their production potential and marketability.

12.IV.1.3 Research on relevant farming systems, particularly those relating to farm mechanisation, will be developed.

12.IV.1.4 Extension officers will pay particular attention to imparting information on agro-processing and post-harvest losses, and will give guidance on the selection of plant and animal germplasm.

12.IV.1.5 The private sector and the farmers will become more involved in establishing the specific goals of agricultural research, by themselves participating in extension through, for example, workshops at both the community and national levels.

12.IV.1.6 The National Science Research Council, comprising agricultural agencies and the heads of relevant institutions, will be resuscitated to ensure collaboration and exchange of ideas on a regular basis.

12.IV.1.7 A National Livestock Development Agency will be established. This will be similar in structure and function to the NDDP (semi-autonomous), and will incorporate the NDDP as well as development programmes pertaining to small ruminants (sheep and goats), swine, apiculture, rabbits and farmable wildlife (e.g. alligators, iguana, deer, etc.).

12.IV.2 Marketing

12.IV.2.1 An advisory services agency will be established to provide marketing intelligence (including market opportunities) to farmers on a timely basis. The agency will also help producers in finding inputs, obtaining access to markets, and in directing farmers' concerns to relevant institutions. It will establish a computerised information network with linkages to overseas markets. The encouragement of agro-processing as the thrust for the future will be the focus of this agency.

12.IV.2.2 More individuals will be trained in post-harvest technology. The concept of marketing centres will be revived, and the management of the municipal markets will upgrade facilities for weighing, storage, sanitation, communication, banking, parking, rate collections, etc., in an all encompassing effort to provide more adequate services to buyers and sellers.

12.IV.2.3 The private sector will be involved in the management of marketing centres.

12.IV.2.4 The Food and Drug Act will be updated to conform with international standards for chemical and disease free food.

12.IV.3 Credit and Investment

12.IV.3.1 Microcredit schemes will be put in place in order to assist in the development of this sector. This will be an integral part of the country's overall poverty elimination programme.

12.IV.3.2 Credit agencies will be sensitised to farmers' financial requirements by extending their outreach programmes into the rural communities and will introduce systems of lending via small loan schemes for farmers without collateral.

12.IV.4 Rural Development Centres and Agricultural Cooperatives

12.IV.4.1 The NDDP has made a positive step in registering all cattle owners in Guyana and unifying them by forming village groups, distinct and regional associations and by ensuring their participation at national cattle farmer congresses. A similar arrangement exists for the rice farmers via the RPA, with the GRDB acting as a regulatory body. This type of organisation will be encouraged for the NTCs and other livestock producers, with support from the NGMC, IICA, CARDI, and the Extension Division of the Ministries of Agriculture, and Fisheries, Crops and Livestock.

12.IV.4.2 Agricultural Cooperatives will be revamped to encourage the formation of self-help societies that aim to improve the economic welfare of its members through planning and management.

12.IV.4.3 Government will support these groups via direct contracts for food supplies to Government-managed institutions and feeding programmes for schools and the needy.

12.IV.5 Other Inputs

12.IV.5.1 Government and private investors will together foster the creation of machinery pools and fabrication units to cater for the mechanisation needs of farmers. Government will take active steps to encourage reputable international fruit marketing firms to come to Guyana and enter into contract farming.

12.IV.6 Education and Training

12.IV.6.1 Agriculture will be re-introduced into the primary school curriculum.

12.IV.6.2 Learning institutions will be better equipped with teaching instruments - laboratories, audiovisual aids, experimental plots and cages, green houses.

12.IV.6.3 Improved working conditions and salaries will be provided to attract a higher calibre of teaching staff.

12.IV.6.4 The mandate of the FTC will be to promote awareness of technological advancement and to educate farmers continuously on developments in agriculture. The FTC will cater for residential courses and will be equipped with audiovisual and publishing facilities for the production of films, radio programmes and newsletters that can be disseminated through the media.

12.IV.7 Agronomic Practices

12.IV.7.1 The Crop Improvement Programme and the Extension Service units of the MOA in collaboration with research agencies will create programmes that have applicability to existing farming conditions, and are consistent with the varying levels of farmers' economic resources. Priority will be placed on developing agronomic programmes for crop varieties that have assured markets (particularly export markets). Cropping systems that allow for the continuous supply of those food crops that are traditionally seasonal will also be given special attention.

12.IV.7.2 Water management; the control of weeds, pests and diseases; fertilizer application and soil fertility; land preparation; planting methods; harvesting; and crop suitability for various ecological and climatic zones will be specifically considered.

12.IV.8 Germplasm Supply

12.IV.8.1 A programme for the attainment of self-sufficiency in germplasm will be established. The programme will address collection, characterisation, certification and varietal improvement.

12.IV.8.2 If importation must continue in the short run, strict guidelines for quality standards, adaptability and phytosanitation will be formulated and applied.

12.IV.8.3 The supply of germplasm has an enormous potential for cost recovery. Government will progressively remove subsidies in this venture. This step may cause farmers to be more careful in the handling and care of purchased planting material.

12.IV.9 Plant Protection and Quarantine Services

12.IV.9.1 A survey on the main pests and diseases affecting local crops will be conducted.

12.IV.9.2 Programmes to control, prevent and eradicate the major pests and diseases identified in the survey will be developed and implemented.

12.IV.9.3 Workshops on critical pest and disease problems will be organised, and crop farmers will be apprised of their incidence, location, and relevant control methods on a timely basis.

12.IV.9.4 Plant quarantine laws will be utilised to provide greater authority to officers in the execution of their duties.

12.IV.9.5 New surveillance points will be opened along the country's borders to restrict the entry of pests and diseases.

12.IV.9.6 A National Surveillance Service Unit (NSSU) will be established.

12.IV.10 Livestock


12.IV.10.1 The production of alternative energy feeds (low quality rice, corn, sorghum, or cassava) to counteract the decline in the supply of rice and wheat by-products will be pursued. Private investment in this area will be encouraged, through the provision of fiscal incentives.

12.IV.10.2 Similar incentives will be provided for the establishment of a rendering plant to produce high protein meat meals from the quantities of fish, poultry, swine and ruminant processing wastes that are currently discarded.

12.IV.10.3 The livestock population of Guyana would, of course, require adequate pasturage to support its sustainable development. Efforts will be made to improve the productivity of the saline soils to the north and the acid soils farther inland for livestock rearing.

12.IV.10.4 Research will continue on the development of nutritious forage species that are adaptable to soil conditions.

12.IV.10.5 Land use capability studies will seek to ascertain the most appropriate areas for livestock rearing.

12.IV.10.6 An animal nutrition project that aims at educating farmers on correct feeding principles will be undertaken, collaboratively, by all relevant agencies (MOFC&L, NDDP, CARDI and IICA).

Animal Health

12.IV.10.7 The Veterinary Laboratory at Mon Repos will be rehabilitated to provide all the services needed for disease surveillance and laboratory diagnostics. Diseases of immediate concern are tuberculosis, and bovine paralytic rabies, since clinical evidence points to their presence in Guyana. The laboratory staff will also be involved in disease eradication and control programmes and in developing systems of herd health prophylaxis. Clients will be charged for services.

12.IV.10.8 Clearance for the export of meat (particularly beef) from Guyana hinges on proper abattoir facilities, a functional diagnostic laboratory, and well-equipped field veterinarians. Guyana will seek to put in place these facilities and initiate meat exports, in accordance with OIE guidelines. Increased rates for slaughtering will provide the finance necessary to improve the conditions at the abattoirs and to maintain inspection programmes, and to ensure the optimal functioning of a Meat Marketing Board, the establishment of which is an absolute priority.

12.IV.10.9 The Government will improve the emoluments of veterinary staff, and provide transportation facilities to allow them to execute their functions. Charging for drugs and surgical procedures will contribute to the costs involved. Core funding, however, will remain the responsibility of the relevant Ministries.

12.IV.10.10 A survey of the health status of all livestock in Guyana will be undertaken as a priority measure.

Genetic Improvement

12.IV.10.11 The livestock development programme for Guyana will include an Animal Breeding Unit, The unit will support itself by the sale of breeding stock; charges for artificial insemination; and donor-financed projects.

12.IV.10.12 It is important that breeds be fully identified, breed performance be evaluated, and cross-breeding programmes be established to derive optimal performance parameters. In sheep, the Corentyne white breed has shown superiority on empirical evidence. A complete study will be carried out to measure all technical performance parameters of this breed. Other proven tropical breeds for sheep, goat and pigs will be introduced and their performance evaluated. In addition, tropically adapted breeds will be included in a national breeding programme.


12.IV.10.13 Integrated farming systems will be encouraged, to allow farmers to market produce and be self sufficient in their household requirements for meat, milk and vegetables.

Livestock Research

12.IV.10.14 The following types of livestock research will be undertaken: on-farm management systems; nutrition, especially mineral/trace element requirements and the use of chemical growth and production enhancers; reproductive physiology; applied Breeding and Genetics; livestock diseases, especially as they relate to endo and ecto parasitisms; the sociology of farming groups; post harvest storage and the shelf life of product; the use of antibiotics and anti-parasitic drugs and the development of resistence thereto; the environmental impact of production systems, and production methods and their relation to inhumane animal stress.