Five-day training in use of fertilisers, biofertilisers to advance Guyana’s food security agenda

A five-day training workshop in the efficient use of fertilisers and biofertilisers as well as nutrient management was on Monday launched to accelerate Guyana’s food security agenda.

The event was hosted at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) Auditorium, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.  

Approximately 40 persons including students, extension officers, and staff of the GSA, Guyana Sugar Corporation, new Guyana Marketing Corporation, and National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute will be participating in the training.  

A section of the gathering at the launch of the workshop

To achieve food security, mineral fertilisers are necessary. By increasing soil fertility, plant tolerance, and crop productivity, biofertilisers play a significant role in sustainable agriculture. By choosing the right fertiliser in the right amount, nutrient management strategies can result in the efficient use of nutrients. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said the training is a step in the right direction and will fast-track food production, given that the country needs to produce 60 per cent more food in the same areas currently under cultivation. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

“Moreso, the efficient use of fertilisers will aid our farmers greatly as they would reduce the cost of production and increase yield. For this initiative to be successful, we need our extension officers who are the important link between the government, private sector, and farmers to be proactive. And to extend our reach and services to every region, farmers, and farming communities in our country,” he stated.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch said the training marks an important milestone in the US/Guyana and US/Caribbean relations, “as we roll out this activity designed to address this critical issue of food insecurity.”

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Representative, Khalil Ahmed highlighted that the organisation is looking forward to a productive week of training with all participants, as critical knowledge will be passed on.

USDA Representative, Khalil Ahmed

USAID/ESC Regional Representative, Mervyn Farroe noted that USAID is working closely with its partners in Guyana and the region to address many challenges relating to food insecurity.

“That’s why the USAID made a commitment coming out of the Summit of the Americas last year to support this region. All of us know these well-documented challenges which stretched from fertiliser access and use to the lack of a reliable supply chain model to move food and agricultural inputs of the region, to the need for improved production techniques; storage, and transportation; to strengthening the capacity of micro, medium, and small enterprises in the agriculture sector, to building the capacity of our extension services,” he related.

In 2022, the government injected over $1 billion in subsidies to farmers across the region.

To date, over 22,000 farmers have benefitted from the distribution of fertilisers.

The workshop will be conducted by world-class USAID technical experts from April 24-28, 2023 at GSA.

Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, Assistant Secretary-General of CARICOM, Joseph Cox, Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, Delma Nedd, NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer, Jagnarine Singh, and Training Manager at NAREI, Warren Barlow, were also in attendance.