Ambassador Hardt Visits USAID Sites
Ambassador Hardt visits USAID sites
Ambassador Brent Hardt, Minister of Agriculture Leslie Ramsammy, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Guyana Officer in Charge William Gelman visited two USAID sites on Friday, February 3, to observe the work of the agency’s Guyana Trade and Investment Support (GTIS) II project. Ambassador Hardt and Minister Ramsammy toured Bounty Farm in Timerhi and Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society (HFFS) Model Contract Farm in Hauraruni Village, along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
During their visit to Bounty Farm, Ambassador Hardt and Minister Ramsammy observed greenhouse crop cultivation and discussed production expansion with Bounty Farm General Manager David Fernandes and USAID Chief of Party Patrick Henry. As part of GTIS II, Bounty is exploring how to invest its own resources in non-traditional agriculture while also providing technology and market access to local farmers.
At Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society Model Contract Farm, HFFS Chairman Vivian Fredericks explained export-oriented cultivation techniques utilized by HFFS. In partnership with GTIS, HFFS developed a model farm to demonstrate how drip irrigation and greenhouse technology can be used to cultivate export-quality fruits and vegetables along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway. Ambassador Hardt and Minister Ramsammy also toured the farm’s water source, pumping station, and filtration station. They were also greeted by a group of teachers and students from the Hauraruni Village All Age School.
The Ambassador welcomed the opportunity to see first-hand the extraordinary work that have been undertaken by USAID through its GTIS partners in promoting non-traditional agriculture and aquaculture. He thanked the Minister for visiting the sites with him and conveyed U.S. interest in continuing to support the development of the agricultural sector in Guyana.
“The United States made a long-term commitment to supporting Guyana’s efforts to diversify its agricultural sector, and we are pleased to see that these efforts have literally taken root,” he said. He lauded the “impressive entrepreneurial efforts” of the management of Bounty Farms and the Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society as well as the Maharaja Oil Mill Tilapia hatchery, which he visited last week, and expressed his hope that the Government and private sector of Guyana will continue to take advantage of the opportunities available to expand exports and build markets in agriculture and aquaculture.
During the visit, Minister Ramsammy shared his vision for the development of Guyana's agriculture that would build on the examples of both Bounty and Hauraruni Farms to diversify and expand Guyana’s food production and export potential. He sees Bounty Farms and Hauraruni as vital projects to expand the experience of Guyanese farmers at the corporate and community level. “Bounty Farms is a good example for larger investors of a farming model at the corporate level. It uses basic agriculture to propel an industry and diversify production. It feeds into local markets and is also engaged in exports,” the Minister said. When discussing the work of HFFS, the Minister stated that “Hauraruni is a prime example of how to organize a community beyond subsistence farming, using technology to get better use of the land.”
The GTIS II project is designed to maximize Guyana’s competitive advantages and increase non-traditional, value-added exports in four primary sub-sectors: Wood Products, Aquaculture, Agribusiness, and Tourism. Its impact on non-traditional agriculture include introducing modern agricultural methods, strengthening transportation logistics, negotiating lower airfreight rates for shipments, and implementing new agricultural models.