GLDA investing in training for extension officers, farmers -CEO Dr. Halley

The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) will soon launch a series of virtual training programmes for extension officers and farmers nationwide.

The training is geared at strengthening their technical and educational skills to improve export standard.

GLDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Grayson Halley

GLDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Grayson Halley, on Monday said Budget 2021 made provisions for the establishment of a virtual training centre to aid the knowledge transfer drive. The centre would also be used to provide guidance to extension and other officers in the hinterland or riverine communities.

“It would be equipped with the internet and smart board (an interactive whiteboard) and all the other facilities, perhaps even practical desks that we can train our officers, farmers and stakeholders. It would also be used for teaching purposes for the University of Guyana and Guyana School of Agriculture. The idea is to reach a wider audience, even overseas,” Dr. Halley relayed.

Some $7.2 million will be spent to purchase rugged electronic tablets for the livestock field agents to enter data into the online system directly from farms, slaughter facilities and veterinary pharmacies. About $1.2 million will be used to purchase mobile Wi-Fi-devices.

Another $4 million has been earmarked to remodel the building, which is situated in the GLDA’s compound, to facilitate training. The installation of a smart board at a cost of $2 million is also on the cards, while another $1 million would be used to purchase farmer-friendly equipment and materials.

“Despite we would only talk about the micro stuff, the detail to bring out the end product is really a lot of work that we have to put in. We have been gearing our extension staff to do just that. We have to now educate our extension staff so that they can go and educate the farmers,” Dr. Halley said.

The GLDA is currently advertising for experienced bidders to make the building conducive for the project, even as it acquires equipment to furnish it.

“We hope to kick off these activities by June, July. Most of our capital items should be up and running,” Dr. Halley added.

He also revealed plans to increase the extension staff complement to ensure roll out of the work programme.  Meanwhile, a pilot group of farmers will be identified to adapt the new approach to their techniques and share the knowledge with others.

The CEO noted that, “we have to package our education in such a way so that it can reach the target audience and they can assimilate it and we can get the desired changes as rapidly as possible because that is what we want right now. We want the economy to take off, we want to bring about rapid changes within our farmers almost overnight and you are seeing that, we are out there trying to make that possible.”

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha says just as in 2020, the measures implemented in this year’s budget will improve the quality of the livestock products.