In Fort Wellington, West Coast Berbice, on Saturday, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha officially opened a model farm. The farm, which is estimated to be worth $16.4 million, was built by the ministry’s Sustainable Agriculture Development Project (SADP) with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The new farm comprises a storage room, shadehouse, cattle pen, composting house, Vermi and thermophilic composting huts, small ruminants pen, Black Giant Pen and swine pens as well as demonstration plots for orchards and high-value crops such as bell pepper.
While offering remarks at the event, Minister Mustapha said that the project was a testament to the unwavering dedication of the government to foster innovation, resilience, and sustainability within the agricultural sector.
He further stated that there are similar projects in other regions that are being used to promote the use of good agricultural practices and technology transfer.
“This farm is important because it is in keeping with the government’s vision of moving food production to a different level. This is one of the several projects that we’ll be commissioning across the country. Soon we’ll have similar projects in Regions One, Two, Three, Four, Six, and Ten. This is the first Demonstration Farm we are commissioning here in Region Five. This farm and these projects will be used to promote the use of good agricultural practices and technology transfer. This is a part of the package of the extension reform process,” the minister explained.
Further, Minister Mustapha said that the Ministry of Agriculture was working with the Ministry of Education to resuscitate the agricultural departments in schools across the country.
“We are also working closely with the Ministry of Education to resuscitate all the agricultural departments in the various schools. Students will be able to come and do practicals at these very farms. Today, one of the most important sectors, not only in Guyana but across the region is the agriculture sector because of food security. We are constantly in discussions with organizations like the IDB to see how we can have our agricultural institutions mirror similar institutions in the Caribbean and Latin America. We’ve also been working to revamp our curriculum at the Guyana School of Agriculture to facilitate practical training with farmers,” he added.
IDB’s Resident Representative in Guyana, Ms. Lorena Solorzano-Salazar said with the establishment of the model farm, farmers will be able to have improved access to information to increase their production and incomes while reducing environmental impacts.
“With learning from the demonstration farm in Region Five, farmers will have information to increase their production, and incomes and reduce environmental impacts. This demonstration farm is relevant and proves that with simple activities additional agricultural learning will be key to driving the agricultural sector into a higher level of learning with the students who will be participating. Support of this research and demonstration plot is completely aligned with the IDB’s vision for improving people’s lives and we trust that this program and the opportunity that this offers will assist the farmers to significantly adapt and improve their farming practices,” she explained.