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Over 7 tonnes of crops produced by NAREI’s Hydroponics Farm for 2023 – Guyana Times

…nursery to meet 100,000 plant capacity in 2 weeks

Healthy produce is being cultivated using the hydroponics system

Production at the hydroponics facility of the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara has been overwhelming for 2023 thus far.
President Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday visited the facility and was informed that the harvest for 2023 included two tonnes of chili peppers, two tonnes of hot peppers, 50,000 heads of lettuce, one tonne of carrots, and 2.4 tonnes of cauliflower. The majority of this produce is used to supply hotels, and excess produce is sold to contiguous communities, thus there is never a waste of food grown.
In addition, there are 25,000 plants in the Hydroponics Nursery, and this capacity will reach 100,000 within the next two weeks. These plants include mint, celery, parsley, pakchoy, cucumber, kale, basil, chives and thyme, among others.
The Hydroponics Nursery is operated on 10 acres of land, and shade houses measuring 90 feet by 40 feet are used. Using traditional methods, production would require a larger area of land, estimated at 30 acres.
“The intention of this facility is to build additional facilities like this one to meet the needs for these crops with Caricom. Then the next phase is to do modern aquaculture in tanks. This is wonderful…and it is 100 per cent Guyanese,” the President said as he lauded the project.

Some 75 per cent of the interns who have benefitted from programmes at the farm have now launched their own agricultural businesses, having benefitted from receipt of materials from NAREI to kickstart their respective enterprises.
Hydroponics is one of the modern technologies being embraced by the Government as it seeks to support Caricom’s vision of slashing the food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
Last year, the Agriculture Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Israeli company KARLICO INC, making way for the development of a massive hydroponics project. With an estimated investment of US$15,750,000, the project is set to involve a three-phase hydroponic production system based on nutrient film techniques and soilless production systems designed for the production of fresh herbs, lettuce and other leafy vegetables, as well as other high-value crops.
First phase of the project was the setting up of a 2,000-square-metre, state-of-the-art hydroponic system which would include a cold room, packaging facilities, harvesting equipment, irrigation controllers, fertilizer mixers, water recycling system, and emergency water storage, among other things.

Phase two would see the construction and installation of an advanced greenhouse system, while phase three would involve the construction of a regional distribution center where a variety of agricultural and food products would be collected, processed, packaged, and delivered to both local and international markets, meeting all of the necessary U.S.D.A and European Food Safety Authority standards and regulations.
Vision 25 by 2025 was conceptualised by President Ali for a 25 per cent reduction in the Region’s food import bill by the year 2025. Owing to the Region’s dependency on imported foods, it faces hardships when disruptions occur.
As of 2022, the Region achieved 57 per cent of the production target towards reducing the food import bill. Over the next two years, more than 1.4 metric tonnes of commodities must be produced to achieve this target.

A spice development programme has been launched in Jamaica; a national shade house project and cattle farm has been launched in Trinidad and Tobago; increased agricultural production has been launched in St Lucia and Dominica; a new tissue lab and phytosanitary legislation has been adoption in Barbados; 75,000 hectares of land for large-scale agricultural projects have been employed in Suriname.
Guyana is the lead country in agriculture and food security in the Caricom bloc. This is reflected in its transformative projects in priority commodities such as corn, soyabeans, aquaculture, livestock, along with traditional crops.(G12)

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