The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) recently started exploring local production of potato and onion with the assistance of Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprise and Linkages (PROPEL).

With Guyana being at its infant stage with these two crops, representatives of Jamaica are were here for two days to lend support in the cultivation of the crops. Jamaica has managed to add potatoes and onions to its list of agricultural produces.

Now, the country only imports these two commodities when their local supplies would have run low.

Kerry-Ann Williams, a board member of Potato and Onion Producers Association of Jamaica (POPA); Alvin Murray, Regional Agronomist, PROPEL; Michael Pryce, Senior Director of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Agriculture; Dermon Spence, Chief Technical Director of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Agriculture and Andrea Tucker, POPA met with NAREI’s staffers who are involved in the potato and onion project last week.

The visit aims to aid in the development of NAREI’s five-year strategic plan for onion and potato production in Guyana. Jamaica’s experiences with the two crops in terms of challenges, marketing strategies and value chain will assist NAREI.

Dr. Oudho Homenauth, NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) thanked PROPEL for facilitating the visit. “We are relatively new in the business and we thought your (Jamaica) experience will help us tremendously.”

The CEO shared some of the challenges farmers faced during the first phase of the potato and onion trial with the Jamaicans.

Pryce said that with the two countries being members of CARICOM, POPA is willing to share their experiences with NAREI. The representatives gave tips on the technical to marketing and policy aspect of their programme.