Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud told a workshop convened to address weed management that the issue is critical as weeds can impede efforts to maximise food production thereby affecting livelihoods.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release a workshop titled ‘An integrated approach to aquatic weed management in Guyana’ was held at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) conference room on Friday to address this issue. NARI Director Dr Oudho Homenauth said the workshop was aimed at creating a long-term strategy for weed management through an integrated approach. He said too that input from all stakeholders was essential to implement a project which is set to start this week. He said weed agronomist attached to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Dr Ricardo Labrada was in Guyana to assist with developing a strategy.
Dr Homenauth said too NARI along with agencies such as the Guyana Sugar Corporation, the Guyana Rice Development Board and the Pesticides and Toxic Chemical Board are currently executing a project on integrated management of weeds in the aquatic environment. This is also being done in collaboration with the FAO.
Meanwhile, Persaud said his ministry is looking at models and arrangements that were tried and tested in addition to looking at non-traditional ways of dealing with the problem. He said the issue is critical as in many communities the weeds clog up the secondary and tertiary drainage systems.
According to GINA Dr Labrada has been working with the ministry over the past months to propose recommendations applicable to the long-term objectives. The project had been accelerated as the threat posed by the weeds was detected during the December/January rainy season. Persaud said the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority had spent about $780 million to manage the weeds, which was a severe financial burden.