The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Agriculture Sector Development Unit (ASDU) today donated a number of processing equipment to the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) with the aim of improving the school’s agro-processing and commercial production.
The items were handed over by Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder and other officials during a simple ceremony at the school’s processing facility in the GSA Compound, Mon Repos.
Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, while handing over the equipment indicated that in order for agriculture and entrepreneurship to develop in Guyana, steps such as this is necessary.
“We are pushing for self-sustainability and improved agriculture so steps like this must be taken in order to achieve that goal. The students will be able to utilize the equipment and prepare themselves for what comes after they graduate. Additionally, the school will be able to produce better products for commercial purposes.” Holder said.
Some of the items donated were two food dehydrators, a food processor, an ice cream maker and a juice extractor. The school will be receiving mills and other equipment for planting cassava from the ASDU in the near future.
The ice cream maker is set to utilize excess milk, which is averaged to be seventy percent, which the school is currently feeding to the calves
because it cannot be utilized. The ice cream, when produced, will be packaged and sold to the community and other commercial entities. The dehydrators and other equipment will be used to partly process, seal, blast freeze and vacuum pack fruits and vegetables in order to ensure an extended self-life.
Also present at the handing over was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis who explained that the Ministry is working towards precise mechanized agriculture, given the fact that there is often a quantity of commodities and a shortage of labour at the school.
“In some cases, we have a lot of the products that end up as commodities, value added and processed to a form where they are readily useable and where they can replace imports.” Jervis said.
Chief Executive Officer of The Guyana School of Agriculture, Mr. Brian Greenidge, in expressing gratitude indicated that the newly donated equipment will help the school to further prepare its students to be able to make an income for themselves when they graduate.
“The curriculum already caters for technical practice sessions where students are exposed to operating agro-processing equipment. However, with the addition of the new equipment to the institution, the students will be able to take advantage of more practical sessions so that they can develop products which can be used as a start up to their own business venture”, Greenidge said.
Additionally, the equipment will also be used to strengthen the school’s outreach programme which will see persons from the community benefiting from training.
Also present at the handing over were Director of Academic Affairs at GSA, Oscar Glasgow, Chairman of GSA, Thomas Richmond, ASDU Project Coordinator, Khemlall Alvin, Director of Administration of GSA, Dr Dexter Alleyne, Principal of GSA, Dr. Dindyal Permaul, GSA Research Technician, Stacia Mc Donald and Lecturer and farm manager at GSA, Osbert Nurse.