$60.4M Fertiliser Testing Lab commissioned

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha commissioned a new, $60.4 million (US $302,000) Fertilizer Testing Laboratory on Wednesday at the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB).  The facility, which is certified, is the first to be established locally and the second in the Caribbean.

The Laboratory, which is located in the NAREI Compound, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara has the capacity to monitor the quality of fertilisers imported to Guyana.

Minister Mustapha said the PTCCB plays an integral role in developing agriculture. This is particularly important as Guyana is now poised for massive transformation. The new laboratory will directly address one of the challenges farmers have faced over the years.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha pays keen attention as this officer (first right) at the $60.4M Fertilizer Testing Laboratory explains the functions of some of the equipment.

“Since taking office, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of farming communities in many Regions and I can clearly tell you in many of those visits, farmers echo concerns about the quality of fertilisers imported and distributed in Guyana.”

To this end, Minister Mustapha said agro-chemicals will not only be monitored for quality, but the PTCCB would support the monitoring of storage facilities and practices, as the chemical properties of fertilisers could be impacted by storage conditions. Fertiliser analysis would be conducted at the Laboratory.

The Minister said it is important that agriculture increases significantly each year to provide food for the nation and for trade and export. He said the milestone achievement demonstrates the Government’s commitment to farmers.

“In this vein, historically, I would like to say Guyana over the years has been the focal point for agriculture in the Caribbean and, over the last five years, we have ceded that position to St. Vincent, but rest assured as Minister of Agriculture, I am optimistic that we will take back that position shortly.”

Minister Mustapha said efforts would be made to support capacity building of the facility to ensure food safety in Guyana.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, tours the new $60.4M Fertilizer Testing Lab at NAREI Compound, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara

Meanwhile, PTCCB’s Registrar, Ms. Trecia David said the new establishment would provide adequate support to the expanding agriculture sector and enhance the lives of farmers.

“In 2017, the Bureau of Standard along with other agencies within the Ministry of Agriculture would have identified the gap in Guyana where there is no testing for fertilisers and in 2019, at the level of the Board, we began chasing down the opportunity to make this a reality for Guyana,” Ms. David said. The facility is set to start operations immediately.