US specialist due here for ‘hands on’ exercises in Container Farming

The practice of cultivating fruits and vegetables in pots and discarded containers has long been a fringe pursuit in Guyana’s broader agricultural sector, particularly among small scale urban growers keen to grow at least a modest quantity of the food that they produce.

Stabroek Business has learnt that the latest initiative in the Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer programme under which US farmers with specialist skills provide voluntary service to farming communities here will see a two -week    visit by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service Container Farming Expert, Kelly Young to work with local growers who are interested in expanding their knowledge of container gardening.

A release issued by the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank’s Farmer to Farmer programme says that Young’s visit here will see her conduct training in growing vegetables such as lettuce, celery, packchoy, tomato, sweet pepper and hot peppers in containers.

While the practice of container gardening, the growing of plants exclusively in containers rather than in the ground has long been widespread in Guyana, her work here is expected to help revive urban interest in modest agricultural pursuits particularly in circumstances where limited space does not allow for planting in the ground. A revival of interest in container farming here could also contribute to reducing the level of indiscriminate disposal of plastic containers which are the primary receptacles for container-grown plants in Guyana.

The release from Partners of the Americas says that the programme for Young’s April 8-20 visit here includes “a workshop and hands-on training session on growing vegetables in containers” from April 11-12 at the St. Stanislaus Farm, North Sophia. The visiting US specialist will also work with farming groups in Regions Three and Ten.

Container farming specialists point to the reduced risk of soil-borne diseases, the near elimination of weed-related problems and greater plant mobility and attendant control over moisture, control and temperature as advantages associated with this method of planting.

Young is one of a number of US farming specialists to have visited Guyana recently under the Farmer to Farmer programme which is supported by the United States Congress and the United States Agency for Internatio

nal Development (USAID) as part of Washington’s foreign assistance programme. The Farmer to Farmer programme is a collaborative effort between agricultural professionals and practitioners from the US and the Caribbean who serve as volunteers working with farmers and agribusiness owners in the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti and Nicaragua to identify local needs in the agriculture sector and design projects to address those needs.

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