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Oil & gas should not trump other natural resources – US expert tells Guyana

first_imgUS based Energy, Oil and Gas expert Edwin Callender on Thursday reminded Guyana that it has an abundance of natural resources outside of oil, and urged the country not to neglect the other sectors, as oil will not be here forever.Dr Julio BerdeguéHe stated that while the oil and gas sector in the country will open the door that could lead to tremendous economic development for both Guyana and the Caribbean, other industries should not be neglected.“It will not last forever and then what, what is going to happen? So Guyana and the people of Guyana, represented by whatever the Government, have to ensure, they have to insist that those industries ,whether it is sugar, rice, everything else, are not neglected, in fact that they are enhanced”.According to Callender, the Government needs to ensure that there is a strategic approach with a long-term view in ensuring the other sectors are developed.“Many times, a country comes into this easy money from oil, you just sell the oil and they get some evidence, you tend to neglect the other industries you have and after a while those industries don’t exist. Whereas, before they might have been producing sugar, rice livestock etc., they are importing everything and those industries die. You can use this opportunity to modernize those industries, improve the efficiency, diversify the products and just do what you need to do in order to be a modern economy and not a one-dimensional economy.”US-based energy, oil and gas expert Edwin CallenderHe reminded that in Guyana, there is a well-established Agriculture Industry and this should not be placed on the back burner. The Oil and Gas Expert also noted that the country can now move fully into manufacturing and making more products in its Agriculture Industry too.“You can have a strategic approach, a long-term view and plan and implement that plan to take advantage of the opportunity for the country. And you increase the types of products you are able to produce locally, but to also export to other places that need it. And given the location of this country is on the top of South America, you can ship to anywhere, it is not landlocked. It is blessed by having that position”.In last April, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) Assistant Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr. Julio Berdegué, during a media briefing in Guyana, had reasoned that the oil and gas sector revenues could be used to finance large-scale investments in climate change adaptation or change the food systems to provide healthier diets.“These are not cheap things to do. These are significant investments over the long term and if the oil and gas economy goes well and if it is managed sustainably and in a responsible way, it can be a significant source of resources for this country to do the investments in the other sectors,” he said in response to questions from the media about the threat that oil and gas could pose to the agriculture sector in Guyana.The FAO Official also noted that there was a possibility that the labour costs in agriculture would increase to keep pace with salaries and wages in the oil and gas industry.However, Dr. Berdegué at that time, pointed out that the country’s fishing subsector is expected to face the greatest risk for space in contrast to space for crops and animals.“There might be competition for space with the fishing sector, not so much with crop production or animal production,” adding that there are similar challenges in Trinidad and Tobago.Dr. Berdegué had explained that Guyana’s Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, raised the issue with him in discussions and asked the FAO to provide support to grapple with the availability of offshore fishing grounds where there is a hive of oil and gas exploration and production activity.“How are we going to deal in this country with this new issue, brand new issue of allocating the seacoast of this country between different activities where before, there wasn’t any competition for space?” Minister Holder had asked him.The FAO official said his United Nations agency was funding a US$15 million “very large project” for the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission to strengthen the country’s capacity to manage its space – land and oceans.“We need modern regulations and modern technologies to manage our space in order to make these different economic activities – marine resources and offshore oil drilling – coexist in a less stressful situation or in a more mutually-reinforcing situation,” he said.last_img read more

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