Use oil revenue to develop agriculture sector; urges Guyanese engineer

Dr. Vincent Adams speaking to attendees at an oil and gas presentation in Georgetown, Guyana, on August 3, 2017.

A Guyanese engineer is urging authorities to ensure some of the revenue the country is set to receive from oil production is used to develop the agriculture sector.

Dr. Vincent Adams told dozens of persons gathered on Thursday for a presentation he delivered on the country’s emerging petroleum industry, that agriculture is the future.  “I think agriculture is the future of this country…we have an abundance of fertile land and water and the demand for food is one thing that is guaranteed to remain, and even increase,” he told those attending the presentation, held at Moray House Trust, Georgetown, Guyana.

To support his contention, Dr. Adams cited a United Nations (UN) study which projects that by the year 2050, the demand for food globally will double. The effects of climate change, he said, will also have an impact on where food can be produced. “Because of climate change, many parts of the world which are producing food will no longer be able to produce. So guess which part of the world they are identifying as ideal for food production…right in our own region,” he stated.

According to experts at the UN, food production must double by 2050 to meet the demand of the world’s growing population and innovative strategies are needed to help combat hunger, which already affects more than 1 billion people in the world. The 2008 food price crisis, the result of decades of insufficient investment in agriculture and food security, swelled the ranks of the poor and undernourished to 1 billion people, the UN says.

Even before oil was first discovered in Guyana in 2015, the South American country always recognized its potential to be a major food producer in the region. Successive governments have tried to implement measures to enhance the agriculture industry but one of the key challenges has always been lack of adequate resources.

As more focus is being placed on ensuring the petroleum industry does not overshadow other important sectors of the country’s economy, the need for agriculture to be given high priority is gaining more traction.  With significant resources expected from oil production, Guyana now has the ability to radically transform agriculture and food production, making it possible to realize its potential as the bread basket of the region.

Dr. Adams, who hails from Linden in Guyana, has 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors in the environmental management, groundwater and petroleum production fields, including 30 years in the US Department of Energy.