As a result of this approach, AMCAR has enjoyed dramatic growth, from employing 30 people in one factory and exporting thirteen 20-foot containers to France to employing 400 people, operating two factories and exporting over 100 containers annually to Europe, the U.S., Middle East and South America.
Source: UNDP and UWI Institute of Business. The Millennium Goals and the Private Sector: The Caribbean Experience. 2005
Key opportunities in the non-traditional agriculture export sector include:
- Fresh Fruits – International demand for fresh fruit is growing. Market potential exists for citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and limes, as well as exotic fruits such as mangoes, sapodillas, papayas, pineapples, and passion fruit. However, exporters must be able to establish modern post-harvest handling and quality systems to prevent spoilage in transit, and must meet international phytosanitary controls. Additional value can be achieved by shipping selected fruits to destination markets by air, thereby ensuring maximum freshness. In addition to exportation, opportunities exist for fruit farmers to supply the tourism industry as well as the expanding agro-processing industry in Guyana and the Caribbean.
- Fresh Vegetables – Export opportunities exist for a range of vegetables such as cucumber, pumpkins, watermelon, melon, saeme, bora, and callalloo within the Caribbean and North American markets. However, Guyana’s ability to supply international markets is currently hampered by the time required to transport its products to market. An increase in airlift capacity would create enormous export opportunities for this sector. In addition to fresh produce, current opportunities exist to supply Guyanese or Caribbean food processors with raw inputs.
- Plantains, Roots and Tubers – There is potential to increase Guyana’s exports of selected plantain, roots and tubers to ethnic markets in the Caribbean, North America and Europe. Opportunities also exist for malanga, breadfruit and ground provisions as raw inputs in the snack food industry.
- Organic Products – As noted above, Guyana has large tracts of land free of agricultural chemicals, providing a unique opportunity to meet a growing demand for organic products in North America and Europe. In most cases, organic products receive a premium price compared to their conventional counterparts. Organic cocoa, pineapple and heart of palm are already being grown for export (See Box 2.4). Organic products could also find a welcome market within Guyana and throughout the Caribbean among hotels and restaurants that serve discriminating tourists.
- Herbs and Spices – There is growing demand in the Caribbean, North America and Europe for hot peppers, eschallots, celery and other ingredients for seasoning, all of which grow abundantly in various parts of Guyana.
- Livestock and Dairy Products – There are excellent investment opportunities for the production of meat (beef and mutton), poultry products, milk and milk products for both domestic consumption and export to the Caribbean. In particular, Guyana’s savannahs provide a favorable environment for medium to large-scale cattle raising. Guyana has been certified as foot-and-mouth free, providing it with favorable access to many markets.
- Processed Foods – Opportunities exist for processing, or semi-processing, produce and animal products. Already, Guyana’s exotic and gourmet food products are in demand in Caribbean, North American and European markets. Products with a large growth potential include jams, jellies, sauces, processed spices and fruit puree blends.
- Agricultural Support Services – Since the non-traditional agricultural sector is still emerging, there is an ongoing need for investment in inputs, machinery, and support services. In particular, there are opportunities for air cargo service providers to expand flights for agricultural exports, as well as for investments in cold storage facilities, post-harvest handling, and packaging services.
There are a number of government and private organizations involved in the agricultural products sector. The two principal government agencies responsible for promoting agricultural development in Guyana are the Crops and Livestock Division of the Ministry of Fisheries, Crops & Livestock (MFCL) and the Ministry of Agriculture(MOA). The MOA coordinates the activities of several departments and semi-autonomous bodies related to the major export crops (e.g. sugar and rice). The MFCL is responsible for the provision of extension services for the production of crops and livestock as well as agricultural health activities for plants and animals.
New Guyana Marketing Corporation (New GMC) is a government agency charged with promoting the development and exportation of non-traditional agricultural commodities. (See Box 2.5)
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), which is a part of the MOA, produces research designed to generate the technologies and systems required to maintain national self-sufficiency and export capacity. NARI is also involved in the development of the Intermediate Savannahs.
The Guyana Agri-Business Association (GABA) is a private association whose mission is to increase the level of technological input in agriculture and agro-processing to create a culture of best practices in local research, and to develop policies for the national agricultural sector.
The Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA), represents agro-processing and other non-traditional agriculture companies (see details under manufacturing sector).
The New GMC: Promoting the Export of Non-Traditional Products.”] The New GMC provides a wide range of services to producers and exporters of non-traditional exports:
A Central Packaging Facility (CPF) in Georgetown, where producers are offered standardized cleaning and packaging services for fresh produce for export on a daily basis.
Marketing and promotion assistance that includes market intelligence, advice on market opportunities, registration of exporters who meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bioterrorism regulations, monitoring of market prices, and a one-stop desk for export documentation for non-traditional produce. One of the New GMC’s popular products is the country-specific export marketing bulletins that provide profiles of key markets for products with strong export potential.
Producer support, including farmer training, technical assistance related to post-harvest technologies, agricultural technicians, input and supply sourcing assistance, and export readiness assessments for farmers.
For more information, visit www.newgmc.com