11.I.1 The institutions which service the sugar and rice industries have already been described. Those which support the non-traditional crops and livestock sector are the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock; the Ministry of Regional Development; the Regional Democratic Councils, the National Agricultural Research Institute; the University of Guyana; and the Guyana School of Agriculture. This list is not exhaustive, but it contains the main agencies.

11.I.2 The Ministries of Agriculture (MOA), and Fisheries, Crops and Livestock (MFCL) are at the centre of the sector. They formulate policies and monitor their implementation. They also collect, process, analyse and disseminate relevant information.

11.I.3 The Ministry of Agriculture comprises the Lands and Surveys and the Hydrometeorology and Planning Departments; the Ministry of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock is composed of the Crops and Livestock, and the Fisheries Departments.

11.I.4 The Crops and Livestock Department is primarily responsible for the provision of technical and extension services to the farming communities. Associated with the Ministries' extension activities are the following organisations and units that are all functioning far below their optimum and need to be rehabilitated if extension capabilities are to be enhanced - the Agricultural In-service Training Communication Centre (AITCC), which was developed as a centre to provide agricultural information and to train farmers and extension personnel; the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory which provides parasitology, haematology, pathology, microbiology and other diagnostic support to the livestock rearing community (this laboratory is currently not operational); and the Livestock Station at Mon Repos, which was originally designed as a centre for livestock research in the Ministry of Agriculture. It has now been transferred to NARI.

11.I.5 The present functions of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) are to advise on, and develop, appropriate systems to promote balanced, diversified and sustained agricultural development and optimise agricultural production through adaptive and investigative research; and to facilitate the use of improved production technology by agricultural producers, and establish adequate feedback systems for them in order to achieve and maintain national self-sufficiency and export capacities in food and fibre.

11.I.6 An Agricultural Research Committee advises the Minister on matters of policy relating to agricultural research; supervises and controls the functioning and activities of the Institute; approves, oversees and evaluates the programmes being implemented by the Institute; and gives general and technical guidance to NARI's Director.

11.1.7 At its inception, the overall objective of the National Dairy Development Programme, which was established in 1984, was to achieve national self-sufficiency in fresh milk by 1988. However, the mandate of the NDDP was expanded and its mission statement was subsequently modified to read as follows:- "to spearhead the development thrust of a self-sustaining, self-regulating, economic viable cattle industry within the context of national self-sufficiency in milk and dairy products, beef and beef products, and the export of these commodities."

11.I.8 The original Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) was created in 1963. The Corporation operated like the typical marketing board of many developing countries at that time. It bought all farm products offered to it at a predetermined price, and then sold the produce to consumers at various outlets and from trucks going from house to house. Perhaps not unexpectedly there were tremendous losses. Accordingly, in 1985 the policy of the Guyana Marketing Corporation was changed drastically. There was a total cessation of all buying and selling operations, and a mandate to provide market facilitation services to the private sector for the export of non-traditional agricultural produce, facilitate local market development, develop and disseminate post-harvest technology, conduct market research and provide market intelligence services to farmers was adopted. In 1997, the "new" Guyana Marketing Corporation resumed the buying of farmers' produce, but at prices that are negotiated directly with them. Moreover, only quality produce, for which there is a ready demand, is bought.

11.I.9 There is also a Technology Transfer Unit which develops and provides training on grading, storage, packaging and the transportation requirements for quality produce; promotes the production of non-traditional crops specifically for the export market; develops and documents the steps involved in exporting perishables to specified markets; and provides market extension services.

11.I.10 In addition, there is a Commercial/Market Policy Unit, the aims of which are to provide a one-stop documentation service for exporters of agricultural produce; carry out market research for the private sector for a fee; make available certain kinds of approved packaging for exporting produce; and advise the government on agricultural marketing policy for non-traditional produce.

11.I.11 The Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) offers both a certificate and a diploma programme in agriculture. The certificate programme is a two-year course with a strong practical bias and is intended for youths with a full primary education, who have attained the age of seventeen. It is designed to equip young people for successful farming careers. The diploma programme is a sub-professional two-year course designed for students with a secondary school background.

11.I.12 The Regional Educational Programme for Animal Health Assistants (REPAHA) conducts a diploma programme similar to the GSA's and trains students in Animal Health and Animal Production. A survey which was undertaken in the early 1990s has indicated that employers of REPAHA graduates want them to have some competence in animal production and agribusiness management also. This deficiency has been addressed and at the 1994 graduating exercise, the first group of students graduated in Animal Production from REPAHA.

11.I.13 The University of Guyana currently offers two first degree programmes which are conducted by the Faculties of Agriculture and Education. The programme offered by the Faculty of Agriculture is a four-year course and leads to a general Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. The Faculty of Education offers a Bachelor of Education degree, with an option in Agriculture.

11.I.14 Within the existing Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) are meant to be an institutional structure through which plans and decisions, regarding the needs of farmers and communities in general, can be co-ordinated. There are, in addition, several quasi-governmental entities (e.g. SIMAP) as well as non-governmental and other organizations (co-operatives, producer associations, etc.) which operate at the community level.



11.II.1 Poor definition of the roles of this plethora of public and private sector agricultural institutions hinders their performance, and leads to the fragmentation of planning, policy analysis and product implementation capacity. Government institutions must ensure that the activities that they perform are those that the private sector cannot effectively undertake. Because of the budgetary constraints facing the public sector, there have been some reductions in staffing and the shedding of many services (e.g. extension services and the supply of inputs) traditionally provided by the MOA, the MFCL, and other agricultural support institutions.

11.II.2 The capacity in the MOA and the MFCL for policy review is weak. A further disadvantage is an orientation that is based on the management of centrally provided as opposed to community based services. Moreover, low levels of emoluments in the public service militate against the provision of high quality administrative and planning services. Severe financial constraints have also led to an inadequate availability of equipment and supplies, further limiting the effectiveness of the Ministries' staff.

11.II.3 In terms of agricultural products, there is a dualistic institutional structure characterised on the one hand, by well-organized marketing and other support arrangements for the major export products of rice and sugar; and by fragmented, under-funded and ineffective arrangements for non-traditional crops and livestock, on the other.

11.II.4 There are poor and inadequate linkages among institutions, and poor communications among departments of the MOA and the MFCL.

11.II.5 Agricultural technological services are often provided in a context in which important infrastructure and non-agricultural services are not in place. This lack of an integrated approach leads to the poor absorption of technology. In addition, the Ministries' operations are characterized by a limited interface between clients and the planning and executing services. This often results in poor feedback and, consequently, a lack of relevance of plans and programmes.

11.II.6 A general concern in the provision of public agricultural services is that they are not targeted to rural households of modest means. More well-off farmers can afford to, and do, bring in their own private extension advisers on such matters as crop varieties, planting and cultivating strategies. Obviously this option is out of the question for the poorer farmers. Extension services are one hundred percent subsidised, and therefore the question must be posed as to whether it is justified to provide such services, at the expense of the tax payers, to rich clients.

11.II.7 Similar observations can be made in the case of livestock services, and in regard to the assistance provided in the adoption of better post-harvest practices.

11.II.8 The specific constraints on NARI's research programme are: inadequate contacts with farmers; poor linkages with agricultural extension and other related organisations in agriculture; inadequate evaluations of research impact; and a lack of staff motivation, at both the professional and the sub-professional levels. In addition, the research programme is frequently not related to the needs of the farming community; does not give sufficient consideration to the economic and marketing components of production; and do not efficiently validate research findings before transferring them to the farmer.

11.II.9 The remuneration packages paid to staff at NARI are unattractive.

11.II.10 There is an absence of agribusiness and socio-economic marketing experts on the staff.

11.II.11 The resources devoted to agricultural research are minimal and derisory.

11.II.12 In addition to the financial constraints which reduce the efficiency of almost all the government institutions in Guyana there are certain basic constraints in regard to the delivery of tertiary agricultural education: training is too theoretical and lacks a strong practical dimension; there is a lack of orientation to national problems and conditions; the student intake is relatively low; there is a lack of basic textbooks and other teaching aids; and the available human resources are not optimally utilized.

11.II.13 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils have only a limited role in the mobilisation and disposition of resources and, under current legal and administrative arrangements, cannot function effectively as providers of services at the local level. Local authorities have been forced to operate through a narrow window of influence at the regional level, and have been made to be responsible primarily to central and regional governmental structures, and not to their constituents.

11.II.14 Studies of the sector have revealed that the supply of credit to farmers is limited by factors such as the risks linked to agricultural production and markets; the sector's small size; and its informal nature.

11.II.15 The penetration of rural areas by commercial banks is low, leading to inadequate savings, credit mobilisation and delivery. In addition, this unsatisfactory interface and contact between the banks and the agricultural producers, coupled with the preference of commercial banks for asset-based, as opposed to cash-flow, lending, results in an inflexible lending policy towards the sector. As a consequence, only a small percentage of the banks' funds are lent for developmental purposes, while an extremely high percentage is invested in special deposit accounts or Treasury Bills and are therefore not available for productive lending to the economy. Indeed, current lending rules and practices effectively exclude from access to institutional and commercial credit more than eighty percent of Guyana' farm households.



To develop institutions which would facilitate the improvement of the operations of the agricultural sector, by enhancing their efficiency in providing public services in the production and marketing of agricultural produce.

Specifically, the objectives are to:-

(i) improve institutional support for the development of the diversified small farm sector;

(ii) give greater priority to the rural poor as beneficiaries of publicly supplied services;

(iii) improve co-ordination between national and local institutions so that local communities can access information and resources from other levels of government;

(iv) improve the effectiveness of production and marketing organisations in providing economic benefits to their members;

(v) enhance the public sector's capacity to assist these organisations;

(vi) enhance the mobilisation of rural savings;

(vii) increase credit delivery to agricultural activities that are based on rural savings; and

(viii) increase the long-run viability of institutions for agricultural finance.


11.IV.1 A new board will be established to encompass the roles currently being performed by NARI, NDDP, NGMC and the Crops and Livestock and Fisheries Departments of the Ministries. The Directors of this Board will be appointed by, and be answerable to, the Ministers. The GRDB will act as a model for this Board, which will be named the Guyana Agricultural Research and Development Board.

11.IV.2 The Board will maintain strong links with, and co-ordinate and monitor the activities of, non-governmental agencies such as IICA, CARDI, and FAO, in order to ensure that the work being undertaken in Guyana by these agencies conforms to the Government's stated policies and overall directives.

11.IV.3 The Board will be semi-autonomous but, in the first instance, will be financed through the present current and capital allocations made to these institutions. However, it will eventually become self-financing through revenue derived from the operation of an export levy on agricultural produce.

11.IV.4 The membership of the Board will be broad-based, and will include all interests that are involved in the sector: local government bodies; community organisations; representatives of the rice and sugar sectors, and representatives of training institutions.

11.IV.5 Research and extension will be based on the requirements of producers.

11.IV.6 The main institutions of training i.e. the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) and the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Guyana (FA/UG) will be strengthened in material and human resources through internal and external funding so that they may more effectively produce agricultural scientists and practitioners capable of assisting in the enhancement of Guyana's agricultural productability and its diversification.

11.IV.7 The University of Guyana Degree Programme will be improved along two lines: students will be required to have a better scientific grounding in the early stages of their training programme; and in later stages, they will be exposed to practical farming situations and be oriented, through appropriate coursework, field excursions and assignments to actual problems affecting the agricultural sector.

11.IV.8 Students will be attached for six months, as part of the course of training, to farms of various sizes and with different production techniques and practices.

11.IV.9 A higher degree programme will be instituted at the University of Guyana in which all the available resources, both human and physical, of NARI, GRDB, GUYSUCO, NGMC and related organisations such as the Iwokrama and Tropenbos Projects, would participate.

11.1V.10 Government will organise incentive packages for trained agriculturists aspiring to become farmers, particularly in the provision of land and in the availability of developmental capital.

11.IV.11 Post office-based savings institutions will be revived in rural areas.

11.IV.12 A window in the private sector development bank will be devoted specifically to small farmers.

11.IV.13 Group guarantee schemes such as that of the Grameen Bank will be instituted.

11.IV.14 In addition, a linked set of rural credit unions, both for mobilising more rural savings and for retaining more funds in rural areas through agricultural production and marketing loans, will be created.