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||This Master Plan lays out a new way of thinking about agriculture, a "green revolution" which advances sustainable agriculture into a new era: diverse, commercial, enriched by knowledge and innovative technology, with the ability to export most of its
produce. The government of Suriname places high hopes on this Plan and sees in it the
potential to contribute to GDP growth, to substitute imports and increase exports, while
significantly contributing to employment, rural development and to our economy as a whole.
Under the guidance of LVV and the Investment and Development Corporation Suriname N.V. (IDCS), the consultants and local experts have produced a comprehensive policy document which contains a long-term vision, as well as detailed, operational recommendations for implementing the Plan across all districts of the country.
||This report summarizes the 2-year process which has resulted in a recommended comprehensive policy for agricultural development in Suriname.
Suriname is characterized by substantial water and fertile soil, a favorable climate, an
educated workforce and a historic agricultural tradition, as well as an ideal location for export potential. All of these factors give the country a comparative advantage in the international agricultural market; however, agriculture in Suriname does not fulfil its potential, with large underutilized arable lands and limited commercial agriculture.
The economy of Suriname today relies mainly on gold, petroleum and alumina exports; however, low export prices and depletion of mineral resources have led to serious setbacks. Meanwhile, in the past decade the direct agricultural share of the GDP has decreased from 11% to 5.8%. The mining sector is subject to fluctuations and risks, whereas agriculture is a sustainable sector, investment in which could have a great impact on Suriname's economy.
The challenge and the vision of the Master Plan is to improve the condition and stability of the national economy through agricultural production for import replacement and for export, transforming Suriname into the primary food supplier for the region and a major player in CARICOM and even in the European market. Simultaneously, the Plan aims to integrate agriculture and society in a manner which contributes to employment and maintains the stability of social structures.
The Master Plan is structured on two planes: design of a comprehensive national policy, and its implementation through specific regional projects. It is rooted in two main values:
1. Agriculture and Population: Improving the welfare of the people of Suriname, through the generation of employment, food and economic security; increasing individual and communal prosperity and combating poverty.
2. Sustainable Agriculture: Agriculture is deeply intertwined with environment and ecology. Suriname is one of the world's richest countries in natural resources. The Plan will facilitate growth of agricultural lands, while preserving the environment.
The Master Plan seeks to address the biggest challenges to agricultural investments: uncertainty, long periods of return (especially for perennial crops), high costs of credit and limited accessibility to small farmers, relatively high indirect and direct corporate taxation, relatively high labor costs compared to labor productivity; high costs and poor quality control of imported inputs (namely agro-chemicals and seeds), poor research and extension services, and lack of agricultural school and mid-level training courses.
With government assistance and support in certain basic investments, the private sector will be better equipped to develop farms, processing facilities, and market channels.
The Plan introduces a comprehensive change in the approach to agriculture – from subsistence agriculture to commercial, export-oriented and knowledge-driven modern agriculture. A change of this kind has the power to bring forth a significant improvement in the national budget, decreasing imports and creating new job opportunities in agriculture and its byproducts.
The Plan emphasizes the government's role in the development of agriculture through incentivizing and assisting the private sector to pursue agricultural endeavors in the various districts.
The main report is accompanied by detailed business plans which constitute the implementation aspect of the Master Plan – the development of specific projects in several branches of the agricultural sector to be scattered across Suriname's northern districts. The report also includes an atlas containing digitized maps (GIS) that depict the existing agricultural distribution in Suriname, and the proposed focused efforts in the different districts.
These three volumes summarize in practical terms the large effort that has been made, in accordance with the work plan. The final report joins a series of intermediate reports that were submitted during the working period, which include a detailed description of current conditions, a mapping of natural resources and of existing potential and opportunities.
In the proposed course of action, the government plays an important role in eliminating obstacles and creating opportunities for the development of agricultural projects, and thereby serving as an impetus for private entrepreneurs who will subsequently follow an independent path.
|1.2 Institutional dimension