Govt exploring local cultivation of wheat as world market prices soar

As wheat prices peak at record high globally, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said his government is exploring the possibility of sourcing a variety of wheat for local production.

The surge in wheat and other commodity prices is a result of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Both states account for about 30 percent of the world’s traded wheat.

“Soon we are going to work to see whether we can find a variety of wheat that we can plant in Guyana, so that we can fulfill even our local requirement. We are learning important lessons now that we must not leave unanswered for future generations,” President Ali said.

Speaking at the commissioning of a new well at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara on Tuesday, President Ali lamented that both the Covid-19 pandemic and the war have led to supply chain disruption, which has major economic implications.

The pandemic in some instances has increased the cost of goods and services between 20 to 145 percent, while the cost of shipping and logistics has caused increases by as much as 200 percent.

The war in Ukraine then arose, taking out close to 40 percent of global wheat production. The price per barrel of oil also surged. And if that was not enough, China with just an emergence of a few Covid cases, has gone into another lock down.

Notwithstanding these challenges, President Ali said the government is unwavering in its quest to build a Guyana that is resilient, and a country that meets not only its national responsibility, but plays an important role in its global responsibility.

“We have started to present leadership on our next big crisis, food security…The world has thought us that we can no longer be dependent, we have to be as self-sufficient and self-sustainable as possible, especially when it comes to the supply of food and basic commodities,’ the president noted.

He said citizens must understand the complexities of the environment under which the government is operating, acknowledging the fact that despite the many challenges, the administration has managed to maintain a country which boasts the best debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio.

The government has also been able to keep all its public servants employed, expand employment opportunities, provide increases in salaries and pension, and incentives to more students.

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