NAREI is a base for Guyana’s agri-policy- Minister Holder
The National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) convened a two-day Research Conference on October 22 -23 at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), under the theme “Agriculture: Guyana’s Pathway to a Green Economy.”
Addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony of the conference, Minister of Agriculture Honourable Noel Holder posited that the agriculture sector is faced with significant challenges that require solutions based on research and innovation.
Research, he said, plays an integral role in providing a sound base for the development and implementation of Guyana’s agriculture policy. “In particular, research can provide the knowledge base for taking decisions and long-term planning that are needed to cope with the challenges. Research by 2030 and beyond will play a key role in improving the sustainability and diversity of our food systems, finding solutions for wastage and reducing the global loss of biodiversity, which is nearly 60 percent.”
Minister Holder said that Guyana’s future research agenda must give priority to sustainable and inclusive economic development. Targeted research will help to address the challenges of food production, management of natural resources and a balanced development of coastland and hinterland areas.
The Minister added that the ministry must continue to build research and innovation capacity for lower performing regions. Each region has its own competitive advantage; therefore, he said the ministry must capitalize on these to expand agriculture in each region. For instance, in Region One, the spices – turmeric, nutmeg, black pepper and ginger – have been successful, and in Region Nine, mangoes, peanuts, cattle, small ruminants and orchard crops prosper.
“Don’t limit your research to just fresh produce. Just as you did by adding value with establishing a spice factory, let us target the high value, low volume products…Our researchers and scientist must be futuristic. As Guyana emerges as a major oil and gas producer, we must think transformative in our research,” Minister Holder urged.
Chairman of NAREI’s Board of Directors, Dr. Patrick Chesney reiterated the Institute’s commitment to support research in all of the ten administrative regions of Guyana. “It is my intention as Chairman of the Board is to take to the board a measure of the installation and wise use of cooperative and collaborative research and extension infrastructural programmes in all of our regions.”
NAREI’s CEO, Dr. Oudho Homenauth noted that while the Institute’s development programmes have been re-oriented from time to time on the basis of national and global changes, new challenges confronted today to warrant a renewed concept of agriculture.
The conference focused on topics including the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), hinterland agriculture – Guyana’s new agriculture frontier, climate-smart practices, improving production and productivity, green agriculture practices and agriculture health and food safety issues.
Among those who participated in the two-day conference are farmers and representatives of farmers organizations and other agriculture agencies. (DPI)