Agri ministry receives millet seeds to commence trials locally
The Ministry of Agriculture has received a quantity of finger and barnyard millet seeds from the Government of India, as Guyana advances its efforts towards cultivating the crop locally.
Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha received the millet seeds from the outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr K J Srinivasa at a simple handing-over ceremony at the ministry’s boardroom on Friday.
In his brief remarks, Minister Mustapha said the trial for this crop will commence on some 50 acres of land, noting that the government has set aside 200 acres for cultivation.
“Millet is a very good crop for us in terms of our journey towards food security and to reduce the food import bill. Millet is an indigenous crop that was neglected over the years. Guyana is leading the charge in food security. We want to reduce the food import bill of CARICOM by 25 per cent… And I believe this is an appropriate time to start,” he stated.Minister Mustapha also expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for its continuous support in the food security drive.
Meanwhile, Dr Srinivasa noted that India is pleased to spread the cultivation of millets to Guyana and globally and contribute to the food security drive being undertaken by the Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led Administration.
“This will be my last official act in Guyana and I am very happy that it is the handing over of the millet seeds. This was something that was very dear to the heart of our Prime Minister…we are working very assiduously to spread the cultivation of millets because this is very low-cost,” the outgoing High commissioner stated.
President Ali had said at the Inauguration of the Global Millet Conference in New Delhi, that cultivation trials for millet production will be done in Regions Four, Nine, and Ten to support the transition to large-scale production of the seed locally.
The areas earmarked for the trials represent the profit zone in which similar crops like corn and soya are adaptive and being produced on a large scale.
Production of millet in Guyana is also expected to support poverty reduction in the region. Millets are a highly varied group of small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. It has many benefits including low cost of production, highly nutritious, and can withstand the tropical climate in Guyana.