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Guyana’s agricultural sector: Successes in poverty reduction

Guyana remains one of the poorest countries in South America and is faced with a poor infrastructure, weak government and high poverty rates. However, the country has plenty of vast natural resources, which just might be the solution to alleviating its poverty. Guyana’s agricultural sector is one of the most productive components of the country’s economy, accounting for 33 percent of the GDP and 30 percent of the country’s employment.

In recent years, though, Guyana’s agricultural sector has faced many challenges (unstable international commodity prices, extreme weather), the country’s non-traditional agricultural sector is expanding, bringing in profits and acting as a source of growth for Guyana.

The traditional elements of Guyana’s agricultural sector include sugar and rice. In Guyana, rice has remained a staple food item throughout the history of the country’s agricultural-based society and is consumed domestically and exported internationally.

In the last five years, there has been an increase in the export of Guyana’s non-traditional agricultural commodities, an occurrence of which has become a source of growth for Guyana despite the uncertain traditional agricultural sector.

Non-traditional commodities of Guyana’s agricultural sector include agro-processing exports, prepared foods and fresh foods. There is high demand in the Caribbean, European and North American markets for Guyana’s agro-processing exports and prepared foods including jams, jellies, molasses, coconut milk, spices, pasta and others.


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