Agriculture Ministry launches climate change guide for farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture yesterday launched a Farmer’s Climate Change Guide to assist those in the sector to cope with the effects of the weather phenomenon.

The ‘Farmers preparing for Climate Change in Guyana – A Guide’ was produced by the National Climate Unit with support from the National Climate Committee and Conservation International (CI). Launching the booklet at the ministry’s boardroom yesterday, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said it would be “callous” not to take targeted initiatives to help farmers. “Our farmers are the primary victims of climate change,” he stated. Referring to the 2005 floods, the minister noted that sometimes farmers lack the basic knowledge of what to do in certain situations.

A number of farmers and representatives of other agencies were present at yesterday’s launching. The booklet addresses topics such as ‘how will climate change affect farmers’, ‘national climate change initiatives’ and ‘preparing for climate change’. Among other things, it advocates using drip irrigation systems to irrigate crops, producing crops using a hydroponics system where possible, cultivating crops under semi-greenhouses, changing the timing of farm operations and diversifying agriculture production. The 26-page booklet also addresses livestock management, fisheries, management of chemicals, waste management, capacity building and education and personal safety.

Persaud noted that there is a need to make climate awareness and climate preparedness a central part of the programme.

Meantime, Director of the Guyana Office of CI Dr David Singh said he was delighted and pleased with the output. He noted that his organization has supported the government in integrating climate change into the development agenda. With regards to Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, he stated that it is at a stage where the country has to make a push at climate change talks in Copenhagen in December to reach a deal that would work for Guyana.

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