Several partnership proposals have been received by the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) from private investors for the cultivation of potatoes.
A release from NAREI today said that this is in light of several successful trials undertaken by the institution over the past year.
To this end, NAREI is in the process of procuring a state-of-the-art Potato Seed Storage equipment. According to the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, adding such equipment to the list of services already being offered by the institution is necessary.
“Already $5M has been allocated under our capital works programme for the procurement of the equipment and will be procured shortly…adding potatoes to the list of commodities we have successfully is important, but having it done on a large-scale basis is ever more necessary,” Dr. Homenauth added.
The release said that during the trial phase undertaken by the Research Institute, several successful cultivations were undertaken in conjunction with farmers in Mahaicony, Little Biaboo- Region 5, Laluni and Kairuni on the Linden Soesdyke Highway, and Regions 7 and 8 namely, Kato, Paruima, and Santa Fe.
Notable challenges which were documented by the Institute were poor germination and the development of fungus as a result of improper storage of seed materials.
“What we have noticed is that for the potato seedlings to be viable it has to be stored at a temperature between 7-8˚С….Another area is time and density for the planting of the potato seedling due to our changing weather patterns,” NAREI’s CEO said.
In light of Guyana’s quest to expand its commercial agriculture, Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, has called on investors to take advantage of the opportunities.
He added that with the prospect of potatoes being grown on a large-scale basis, the opportunities will be ripe to engage, network and grow.
However, the release said that the Agriculture Minister has cautioned that for this growth to continue there needs to be a shift in the way Guyana does business.
“This is where the Food Safety and Animal Welfare Bills plays an important role in regularizing agricultural practices and ensuring consumer confidence in Guyana’s products. The public/private partnership is necessary there for this to be achieved and in the shortest possible time,” the Minister reminded.