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Preserving nature’s defenders: Mangrove awareness session celebrated

THE National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) of the Ministry of Agriculture, in co-operation with the Environmental Management Consultants (EMC) Foundation, hosted a mangrove odyssey this year as part of the celebrations for the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems to raise awareness of the value of mangroves.

The recent event took place along the seawall from Turkeyen to Ogle and saw participation of several government officials and members of the diplomatic community.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, while offering remarks, said that mangroves play an important role in preserving Guyana’s local ecosystem while acting as a natural sea defence.

“We are living in a region that is very vulnerable, the second most vulnerable in the world and we must be prepared. I’ve been having regular discussions with the EMC and I can assure you that there will be more activities like this to highlight the critical role mangroves play in preserving our eco-system as well as developing our natural sea defences,” he noted.

Minister Mustapha also noted that the government has, over the last three years, expended hundreds of millions of dollars as part of Guyana’s efforts to regenerate mangroves along Guyana’s coast.

“Since I became Agriculture Minister, the government has expended in excess of $500 million to support our mangrove restoration efforts. This shows the government’s commitment to ensuring these systems are preserved. Although these efforts have a positive impact, we cannot do it alone. We need support from other organisations. I am pleased to see so many organisations onboard. I want to encourage others to come onboard so that we can have more activities like this and make a greater impact,” he added.

The day’s activities also included bird watching, games, and exhibitions aimed at highlighting the importance of mangroves.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, H.E. Jane Miller, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Yeşim Oruç, EMC’s Managing Director, Shyam Nokta, and other staff of the Ministry of Agriculture also participated in the event.