The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) is exploring means of enhancing cassava cultivation and mechanical harvesting for it.
Mechanical harvesters are being used to cultivate and harvest cassava at NAREI’s Kairuni Horticulture Station, as part of the experiment, GINA said.
NAREI’s Research Assistant, Premdat Beecham told GINA, “This equipment was brought from Brazil; we use these to do cassava planting along with fertilising. It is based on the functioning of the types. Land has to be prepared flat in order for this equipment to function properly. We have different settings which work based on our programme density.”
Beecham added, “If we want to achieve 10 plants per acre, of course we have to set the gears to 10 plants per acre. Of course it can go down or increase once we adjust the gears…the cassava up-rooter, is the only one of its kind in Guyana. It harvests three acres of cassava in less than an hour. It would probably take about 20 people to do this job.”
In relation to fertiliser, Beecham said, “We have to adjust the gears to put the amount of fertiliser we want to put in the hole, before the cassava is planted. So we have to set the gears to suit the amount of fertiliser we want to apply.”
He said that the machine can cultivate approximately 20 acres in one day. “It all depends on the amount of planting materials that you have and the quality of planting materials, and it also depends on the person who is feeding the materials into the slot.”
He added that the equipment is costly, so it is advisable that farmers who are interested in purchasing do so in groups.