Farmers to own and operate commercial coconut nurseries

– Assistance from NAREI, CARDI & ITC

NAREI, September 20, 2018

Through a multi-agency approach, local farmers are expected to have increased access to various varieties of coconut seedlings shortly. Several farmers, attached to the Stakeholder Platform, operating in Regions Two, Four, Five and 10 were selected to manage demonstration nurseries that are likely to evolve into commercial entities.

This vision is jointly shared by the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the International Trade Centre. The agencies with financing from the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat have taken up the mantle of resuscitating Guyana’s coconut industry.

Chief Executive Officer of NAREI, Dr. Oudho Homenauth today (Thursday) met with CARDI’s Country Representative Dr. Cyril Roberts and International Consultant of ITC Ben Morrison to discuss activities involved in building a coconut germplasm in Guyana.

Within recent weeks, representatives of the agencies and farmers have been collecting nuts from and marking healthy mother palms. The nuts were placed in nurseries built by lead farmers (beneficiaries) with assistance from secondary farmers. It is expected that the secondary farmers will receive a percentage of good seedlings from the lead farmers.

The goal of this aspect of the project is to produce 5,000 coconut seedlings. After which, farmers will be able to continuously supply the demands for planting materials locally. Of the 10 demonstration nurseries that will be established four are now operational. Two of the four nurseries are located in Mahaica, one at Linden and the other at Buxton. Currently, each nursery has about 400 seedlings.

Once managed properly, these nurseries will transform into commercial entities. Following a cost analysis, a price per seedling would be derived. However, the intention is have farmers pay a fair stable price per seedling. Many farmers find the present market price per seedling burdensome.

The establishment of these nurseries allows the beneficiaries to apply theoretical knowledge gained from several training exercises such as integrated pest management, coconut husbandry, business, and nursery management to the practical. Further, it presents the opportunity for farmers to improve their livelihoods.

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