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Over 160,000 tonnes of corn & soya harvested at Tacama Savannah – Guyana Times

…investors eyeing possibility of replanting next month

The corn and soya bean project that is being cultivated in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice), has yielded over 160,000 tonnes of corn and soya, with the consortium looking towards replanting as soon as possible.
Approximately 18,000 acres of corn and soya were planted in the Tacama Savannah in Region 10, by a consortium of companies that included Bounty Farm. In a recent Agriculture Ministry feature, it was revealed that 162,000 tonnes of corn and soya bean have since been harvested.
This includes 108,000 tonnes of corn and 54,000 tonnes of soya bean, both of which are relatively new crops to Guyana. David Fernandes, the assistant Managing Director of Bounty Farm, was optimistic that future crops would result in higher yields.

Harvesting at the Tacama ranch

“It was a tremendous learning experience over the last three years. I think that we would have tried now, I think eight different varieties of corn and nine different varieties of soya bean. We tried four different types of fertilizer on the soya bean alone. And so, because remember our environment, our soils, have never done this before,” Fernandes said.
“And so, it was very important for us to have data, to be able to identify what we need to do in the future, to make Guyana self-sufficient in these grains. We’ve learnt a tremendous lot. And I think now we’re seeing the benefits being reaped with this last crop and no doubt crops going forward, because we now know what we need to do. And we should see significant improvement.”
Meanwhile, Fernandes explained to this publication that they are looking to possibly replant corn and soya next month. This, however, depends on weather conditions. If those conditions are not favorable, they may opt for planting millet.

“We have everything on track to plant this November, but the only thing we don’t have control over, is the rain. And that would be the only consideration for us not to plant a crop of corn or soya bean. But nevertheless, we would still plant a cover crop of millet or something like that on the entire land, to make sure it’s covered for the rains that will come in December.”
“Just to make sure we don’t have no erosions of the soils going into 2024. That would be the worse case scenario, but that depends on if this El Nino continues. But if we see evidence that we’ll get some rain, we can take the risk to plant. But we have to be very careful about that,” Fernandes explained.

El Nino and La Nina are climate patterns in the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide, with El Niño being characterized by warmer temperatures and less rainfall and La Niña denoted by cooler temperatures and heavier rainfall.
Across Guyana, persons have been dealing with scorching heat as a result of record-breaking temperatures. The local hydromet office is, however, forecasting that following the months of extremely dry weather conditions, Guyana will experience increased rainfall in November.
However, while there will be an increase in rainfall, Chief Hydromet Officer Dr Garvin Cummings had told this publication that the uncomfortable temperatures will remain. He had explained that El Nino is predicted to end in the first quarter of next year.
Guyana has aspirations of the country being a net exporter of corn and soya by 2025. In the feed industry, Guyana imports close to US$30 million in products annually. The aim is to not just attain self-sufficiency but establish the country as a net exporter of soya.
The corn and soya bean in the Tacama Savannah is being cultivated by a consortium that includes Guyana Stockfeed Limited, Edun Farms and Bounty Farm Limited. Other investors are Royal Chicken, SBM Wood, Dubulay Ranch, and the Brazilian-owned N F Agriculture.

In addition to the farmers and private companies, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is also a key stakeholder in the massive corn and soya bean project. The Government has played a crucial role in supporting the growth of the industry, with a commitment of over $1.2 billion to infrastructural development in the Tacama area.
Last year, the Government improved access to the area by constructing 40 kilometres of road, with the remaining seven kilometres scheduled to be completed in 2023. Additionally, the Government invested in a drying and storage facility for corn and soya bean which will be completed by the first quarter of this year, establishing the first such facility in the country. (Jarryl Bryan)

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