Guyana is a lower-middle-income country and the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay. It is home to about 800,000 people, 90 per cent whom live in the country’s coastal plain.
In 2014, 72 per cent of the country’s population was considered rural. In the rural hinterland, 73.5 per cent of the population was considered poor, as compared to coastal regions, where poverty affected 37 per cent of the population.
Agriculture contributes significantly to the country’s development, mainly as a result of the production and export of primary products. It is estimated that 1,740,000 hectares of land are being used for agricultural purposes, although only approximately 200,000 hectares are used effectively with relatively adequate drainage and irrigation systems. Agriculture is primarily undertaken by smallholder farmers on less than 5 hectares of land.
A recent study on agriculture in the hinterland shows that the region has traditionally been linked to smallholder agriculture, animal husbandry, gathering activities, hunting and fishing, mainly for subsistence. Indigenous peoples, in accordance with their traditional culture, follow a rotational system of slash-and-burn or shifting agriculture, with most families cultivating cassava. Livestock breeding prevails in the savannah.
IFAD began operations in Guyana over 20 years ago with a focus on the coastal regions and expanding opportunities for small-scale rural producers and strengthening their capacity to develop small enterprises.
Currently, in Guyana, IFAD loans support market opportunities for small-scale rural producers and strengthen their capacity to develop small-scale enterprises.
Our projects aim to expand smallholders' access to services – including financial services – that enable them to increase their productivity and reduce their vulnerability. Moreover, we invest in human and social capital to build self-reliance in rural communities faced with the challenges of sustainable development.
Key activities include:
- supporting smallholders’ organizations to enable them to produce on a larger scale and foster linkages with public- and private-sector players all along the value chain
- promoting promising innovations and managing knowledge to influence the decisions of policymakers, private-sector investors and public-sector programmes
- fostering partnerships with the government and other donor agencies to support agricultural diversification
- strengthening the knowledge and capacity of governmental institutions to engage with smallholder producers, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups
- supporting and contributing to policies on water and natural resource management, and poverty reduction
- empowering institutions, non-governmental organizations and local communities
Guyana is a lower-middle-income country and the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay, with about 800,000 inhabitants.
In 2014, 72 per cent of the country’s population was considered rural.
Agriculture contributes significantly to the country’s development, mainly as a result of the production and export of primary products.
Since 1987, IFAD has invested a total of US$22.3 million in 3 programmes and projects related to agricultural development in Guyana, benefiting more than 12,000 households.