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Multi-sectoral approach needed to deal with bio-energy development -participants hear at capacity building workshop

Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy at the opening of the training programme in bio-fuel capacity building Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy at the opening of the training programme in bio-fuel capacity building

GEORGETOWN (GINA) – As Guyana’s energy profile continues to be heightened, emphasis is being placed on building the capacity of personnel in this area and today, participants drawn from several agencies began a two – week training in the area of bio-energy.

At the forum held at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, it was underscored that a multi-sector approach is necessary to deal with this new area of development.
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy joined Permanent Secretary (PS) George Jarvis, Director, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) Mahender Sharma and Deputy Director, Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) Deonarine Jagdeo at the opening of the training programme.
“Guyana is on a developing path that embraces bio-energy,” Minister Ramsammy said and towards this end emphasis is being placed on developing the resource capacity to advance the country’s bio-energy possibilities.
The training programme forms part of an overall multi-agency approach; involving the Ministry of Agriculture, IAST, NAREI, and the University of Guyana (UG) to enhance and develop the country’s agro-energy sector.
Minister Ramsammy told the participants that every country’s economy is heavily dependent on its access to energy.
“No country can develop unless it has an energy source,” and in fact many developing countries’ development, inclusive of Guyana’s have been impeded because of the constraints with accessing energy and more specific affordable energy.
“Too many developing countries depend on fossil fuel which they are procuring at a phenomenal cost to economy,” he said. Less than 10 years ago oil was selling at US$40 per barrel today it’s fetching approximately US$100 and this rising cost is expected to continue.
Aside from the exorbitant cost of fossil fuel, the commodity also has shortcomings in the fact that it is an exhaustible resource, and this is why there is the constant and persistent search for alternative sources of energy. This search has for many decades been leading investors to Guyana as the country continues to see an improving profile in the use of bio-energy, Minister Ramsammy said.
The country has benefited from a hydro plant in Region 8, and another at Moco Moco, Region One and a bagasse plant at Skeldon through which the national grid receives between 4-8 megawatts of energy. The GuySuCo Albion estate has been producing its own electricity for years for all its buildings inclusive of factories, and drainage pumps during its grinding season.
Vehicles are being propelled in Region One by bio-fuel produced in the region.
Minister Ramsammy said that these are all examples of the country’s improving profile in the use of bio-energy. He said that Guyana’s energy profile will continue to improve as the likelihood exists for the country to become a supplier of fossil fuel with the ongoing exploration of both Repsol and CGX and the expected operation of the Amalia Falls in 2014-2015.
Government had devised an agro-energy policy that seeks to embrace both its food production and bio-energy capacity. While Guyana embraces the mandate of being the bread basket of the Caribbean, Guyana also recognises the other core aspects of agriculture development and, critical among these is the development of bio-mass for bio-fuel for domestic use as well as exportation.
He reminded however that the agro energy policy would not be at the sacrifice of the country’s food production activities. Agriculture will also establish Guyana firmly as a meaningful player in the production and exportation of bio-fuel and that this concept is embraced in the country’s agro-energy policy.
PS Jarvis said that in some parts of Guyana, the use of bio-fuel is not optional but mandatory if residents want to enjoy some of the energy driven necessities of life. He said that for these areas fossil fuel carries an even steeper cost and, as well as there is the additional cost of transporting the fuel.
Initiatives towards cheaper, accessible energy are therefore welcome opportunities for some locations, he said and at the same time enterprises in the production of bio-fuel will assist in the utilisation of the aspects of agriculture products that constitute mass waste.
The training allows the individuals the opportunity to be a part of a growing industry that has a lot of economic benefits for the country, the PS said.
Guyana has always been viewed as having a huge potential for bio-fuel production having the natural advantages of appropriate climatic conditions and the availability of land without the need for deforestation or the substitution of crops, Dr. Homenauth said.
He, like Minister Ramsammy, promised that the country’s agro-energy policy will in no way undermine or realise the under exploitation of its food production. He said that development of the agro-energy sector however, it will require the efforts of all, explaining that NAREI is committed to the development of its sector and will play its part towards this end.
NAREI is set to play a major role in the development of the sector and will provide support in areas such as soil information and mapping of the different areas identified for oil exploration.
The training programme is funded by the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB).


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