National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, GUYANA, Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The soil testing ability of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) is now enhanced thanks to the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) project.
For the first time, NAREI will be able to instantaneously provide farmers with recommendations following on-the-spot soil test for liming requirements, nutrient levels and fertilizer content. Currently, farmers who submit soil samples for testing have to wait for NAREI to process the results.
Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Chief Executive Officer of NAREI said that the Institute is thankful to PROPEL for the donation, which he termed a walking laboratory. He emphasised that the soil kit will support the green initiatives that are currently being implemented, specifically in the area of sustainable soil management.
He made that comment at the handing over ceremony and inking of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the World University Service of Canada (PROPEL’s implementing agency) and the Ministry of Agriculture in the Ministry’s boardroom today (Wednesday).
This MoU formalises the relationship between the Ministry’s technical agencies (NAREI; New Guyana Marketing Corporation; and Guyana School of Agriculture) and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC). It is expected that there will be enhanced coordinated collaboration between WUSC and the agencies.
WUSC Caribbean and NAREI plan to enhance their partnership with special emphasis on improving environmental restoration and climate change initiatives. Specific areas of cooperation may include: plant diversity within farms; uptake of integrated plant health technology; restore the ability of soil to function as a natural reservoir of Carbon; and provision of extension support and research in Climate Smart Agriculture.
According to Dr. Homenauth, NAREI is looking forward to enhancing its partnership with PROPEL. He noted that PROPEL was one of NAREI’s main partners in spreading awareness of the Black Sigatoka disease among plantain farmers. The success of this partnership is evident in the markets, where tons of locally produced plantains are being sold.
Propel is a sustainable economic growth project which aims to increase the value of Caribbean fresh produce accessing high value markets in the Caribbean and internationally by CAD$100M over six years. Funded by the Canadian Government through Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and implemented by WUSA, the project is working with private sector buyers, producers, other market system actors and business service providers to facilitate the safe, effective and efficient movement of fresh produce from the farm level to high value markets.