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Guyana unfazed by COVID-19–driven global food crisis concerns

Even as several reputable international organizations including the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) assert that the ongoing coronavirus ‘plague’ could precipitate a global food crisis, Guyana, up until now, continues to flaunt its reputation as the ‘bread basket’ of the Caribbean by not just continuing to provide more than enough to meet local food needs but also to help meet the needs of sister CARICOM countries as well as more limited markets outside of the region.

Food prices in the city’s municipal markets too, appear to have been largely unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak, though some farm produce, notably ginger, limes and lemons, commonly associated with home remedies for a range of illnesses, recorded price increases.

Up to this week, the evidence in the coastal municipal markets suggests that food shortages are unlikely to become a problem here any time soon.

This appeared to be the pattern here even as the Heads of the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization were declaring in a joint statement that “uncertainty about food availability” could spark “a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market.

Earlier this week the Ministry of Agriculture announced in a media release that its Rural Affairs Secretariat had launched a COVID-19 Relief Kitchen Garden Initiative aimed at providing “a nutritional balance to families and a deterrence from toxic chemical use… in a time when maintaining healthy immune systems is priority.”