Guyana’s capacity to test for poultry diseases has been enhanced by a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contribution of training and laboratory equipment worth US$40,000 for the Ministry of Agriculture’s new Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory.
This means that Guyana’s poultry industry will soon be able to conduct a disease-free surveillance programme, putting it one step closer to exporting poultry meat and eggs to CARICOM countries.
The lab was originally established to test for major poultry diseases (Marek’s, Newcastle, Bronchitis, Fowl Pox) but focus has now also shifted to the testing for bird flu.
According to USAID, the poultry sector is the third fastest growing agro-industry in the country. Ten years ago, the domestic poultry industry supplied 55% of local demand, while today this has risen to almost 100%.
This is significant, considering that Guyana produced 53.4 million pounds of poultry and 60 million eggs last year, and keeping in mind that 80% of all meat consumed in Guyana is poultry.
USAID reported that the industry contributes about US$25 million to the GDP and employs 17,000 persons. Exporting to the CARICOM poultry market (worth about US$350 million) could further enhance the growth of Guyana’s poultry sector.