Gov’t eyeing black-eye peas production in Region One
As Guyana embarks on an aggressive food security drive, the government is now looking to ramp up black-eye peas cultivation on 1,000 acres of land in Region One (Barima-Waini), which could eventually supply the CARICOM market.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha made the disclosure on Monday on the sidelines of the handing over of inputs to farmers at the National Agricultural Extension Institute (NAREI).
This, he said, aligns with President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s vision of positioning Guyana as a hub for food production and reclaiming its title as the bread basket of the Caribbean region.
“We can produce all the needs for the Caribbean [and so] we are looking to start some cultivation. First of all, we’ll look at the areas in Region One.We are looking to build facilities in Region One as long as the soil type is good there and hopefully, we can start large-scale production of black-eye peas, coming out of Region One,” the minister informed media operatives.
According to the minister, Guyanese investors have already signalled interest in making investments in this large-scale production.
Additionally, with the newly commissioned $1.2 billion MV MA Lisha now traversing the Georgetown to Region One route, Minister Mustapha noted that exporting crops from the region to the Caribbean will be made easier.
“We have enough transportation that can bring out crops to Georgetown. Of course, from Region One to Trinidad also, it’s very close and we can get transportation from Region One to Trinidad to export crops from Region One,” Minister Mustapha explained.
The ministry is also looking to ramp up spice production in the Barima- Waini region by providing technical support to farmers.
“Already, NAREI would have started out there. We had technical teams in that region, they have been working with farmers in this region, we have been providing planting materials. The last time we donated $20 million of ginger planting material to the farmers in Region One,” he disclosed.
Government is making major investments in large-scale agriculture production so that Guyana and the Caribbean can produce its own food and reduce the large food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
The administration led by President Ali is also pumping investments in high-value crops such as broccoli, cauliflower as well as non-traditional crops like corn and soya, and wheat, among others.