With locally grown potatoes and onions already having made a modest breakthrough on the local market the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Agricultural and Extension Institute (NAREI) believes that carrots could be on the threshold of a similar breakthrough.
NAREI says that limited information culled from domestic consumption patterns points to an increasing demand for carrots at the domestic level and that its market intelligence has led it in the direction of partnering with local farmers in pursuit of the production of carrots on a commercial scale by 2020.
The Institute says that data acquired from the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) indicates that local distributors imported approximately 532,960 kilograms of carrots from Brazil, the United States of America and Costa Rica in 2016 and that these were distributed to consumers via supermarkets, markets and community shops across the country.
The increasing local consumption of carrots, NAREI says, has been confirmed by two leading coastal supermarkets, Bounty and Budget Supermarkets. According to NAREI the two supermarkets have available, on a monthly basis, in excess of 1,200 pounds of carrots for sale to consumers. NAREI is of the view that local demand significantly outweighs what is available on the market and that the opportunity exists for local farmers to tap into the market.
The Institute is pointing to carrot cultivation trials undertaken in 2014 between itself and the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) the results of which, it says, points to the likelihood that carrots can be cultivated here successfully on a commercial scale. NAREI Director Oudho Homenauth says that Guyana is now better-positioned to cultivate carrots for local consumption since it has now identified varieties that are likely to respond well to conditions here.
No less significantly, the Institute says that it has identified farmers who are willing to cultivate carrots and has already engaged hinterland farmers at Kato, Paramakatoi, Monkey Mountain, Kopinang and Tuseneng, among other locations and that these have already completed successful trials.
NAREI is also reporting what it says is another carrot success story at Kildonan on the Corentyne where, last year, it partnered with farmer Sean Winter to create a carrot demonstration farm. The trial was successful and the harvest was sold to neighbours. Winter, Stabroek Business has learnt, is now an independent carrot farmer and his current crop is due to be harvested shortly. His freshly harvested carrots usually never ‘struggles’ for a market. At a current market price of $200.00 per pound he plans to persist with carrot cultivation.