ENSURING FOOD SECURITY FOR WORLD CUP 2007
January 14, 2007
THE prospects for agricultural development especially the expansion of the non traditional sector will increase significantly.
This optimistic perspective is attributed to the massive influx of visitors to the Caribbean as the region hosts World Cup Cricket 2007 and Guyanese farmers’ ability to supply the huge demand created for fresh fruits, vegetables and meat during this period.
According to Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Director of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), farmers in most agricultural producing areas both along the coast and inland have commenced preparation for this mega event in the Caribbean especially here in Guyana.
“Our farmers both in the traditional agriculture producing areas located in Regions One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and more recent 10 have commenced preparation since November 2006,” he said.
Despite the weather conditions, the fields are under cultivation with crops, most notable of which are tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, cabbages among other exotic vegetables fruits.
In some cases farmers have extended their acreages to ensure food security within Guyana and the Region. In Regions One and Two, Guyana’s Organic Zone, measures have been taken to ensure the opportunity to maximize our marketing strategies for the value added produces from these areas will not do amiss.
He further stated that NARI in collaboration other agricultural agencies are working ardently in collaboration with the farming groups to ensure that good agricultural practices are adhered to in order to deliver wholesome foods to the markets and that these will be sustained after during World Cup Cricket 2007.
“In Guyana we have vast expanse of fertile lands and the capacity to produce more non traditional crops but in order to retain the markets our farmers should ensure good agricultural practices such as recommended fertilizer, fungicide and pesticide dosages are adhered to,” he stated.
Packaging, labeling and transportation are also important factors to be considered in order to deliver whole foods, he added.
In 2006, NARI embarked on field demonstration training programmes using farmers’ plots to ensure that efficiency soil management and integrated pest management strategies are implemented. At present, the institute is monitoring farmers’ fields to ensure these practices are implemented.
Peanut farmers are advised to utilize the aflotoxin testing facilities available at the Government Food and Drug Department.’
In addressing the issue of Guyana’s ability to supply the demand for poultry and small ruminant meat during World Cup 2007, Dr. Homenauth stated that records from NARI’s distribution to farmers reflect as massive growth in the areas of duck and sheep.
In 2006, NARI distributed a significant number breeding rams and ducklings to farmers across Guyana. With respect to the expansion of the small ruminant industry, a number of notable businesses involved in the diversification process have benefited from the provision of improved breeding animal, quarantine and artificial insemination.
At present the Institute has the capacity to conduct crop forecasting using a model designed by Dr. V.C. Mathur, former ITEC Economist attached to NARI. Meanwhile, farmers are encouraged to utilize the Mobile Agro Processing Facility operated by NARI.
The Mobile Agro Processing Facility is fully equipped to perform various agro processing functions and will provide technical supervision.
This service is free of cost but interested groups will be expected to undertake the cost of fuel to operate the facility.’