Analysis and News

The Need for Climate Resilient Agriculture in Guyana

BY ARMCORE VPI's COO: Kezia Bridgewater

Over the past year the vulnerability of Guyana’s agricultural sector to Global Warming has come to light with the increased frequency and magnitude of flooding, which resulted in crops and livestock being lost. Damages were estimated to be 23 billion GYD.

Climate-resilient agriculture (CRA) is a farming method that sustainably utilises resources in crop and livestock production systems to achieve higher productivity year-round given climate variabilities. To secure a stable flow of income, farmers must adopt climate resilient farming practices and battle the changing climate.

In August 2020, shadehouse construction, a concept that is well known in the Caribbean to combat the harsh effects of climate change was taught to farmers affiliated with the Parika/Namryck Farmers Association.  The FAO and IICA provided the technical guidance and materials in effort to facilitate this pilot project on Climate Smart Agriculture. While these greenhouses cannot reverse climate change they are well suited to increase the adaptive capacity for farming.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Zulfikar Mustapha, notes that Guyana has undertaken several measures to facilitate sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture. In a 2020 press release, he commented on the importance of:

“Crop diversification to adjust to the new temperature and precipitation patterns, changing livestock breeding practices and shifting grazing patterns, developing and managing climate-resilient food production systems, developing and using drought and flood-tolerant crop varieties and adopting water and soil moisture conservation measures”

Minister Zulfikar also stated that there is increased investments in crops with low carbon footprints sectors, such as fruits and vegetables and aquaculture. Guyana envisions a transformation of the food system to include innovation and initiatives that drive changes at each stage of the production chain.

There are projects geared towards the promotion of investments with mandates to curb climate change and absorb the effects. PIER is an innovative climate finance project that incentivises private sector investments in support of national development objectives that address climate change, such as National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), within countries of strategic interest to the United States, including Guyana. Winrock’s Ecosystem Services has worked in close collaboration with the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) since 2010 to assist with the design and implementation of a Forest Carbon Monitoring System (FCMS) that feeds into the country’s overall REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system.

In addition, there is the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID)-FAO partnership project for the Caribbean which was initiated in 2018 and supported by Mexico and FAO to help CARICOM countries, especially Guyana, to fight climate change.

A resilient agrifood system will support Guyana’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG Two – zero hunger which aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

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