Mainstay/Whyaka using technology to expand agri production

– intends to tap into wider food market
– Residents receive training from NAREI

Following a series of technical training from the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), residents of Mainstay/Whyaka, Region Two are aggressively pursuing the use of agriculture technology to increase production and eventually tap into the wider food market.

Ongoing works on the shade house in Mainstay/Whyaka

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha has mandated the NAREI to carry out training and awareness sessions in communities countrywide in several essential farming areas, including smart agricultural practices.

These engagements have seen significant improvement in various farming communities, with the latest being Mainstay/Whyaka which is now expanding agriculture to foster economic growth, sustainability and food production.

Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Monday, Toshao, Yvonne Pearson MP, highlighted that the community will be embarking on a slew of climate smart agriculture practices. 

Toshao of Mainstay/Whyaka, Yvonne Pearson

A 96 x 36 shade house is currently being constructed and will be completed soon. The project is intended to increase productivity and generate other opportunities.

“I must say in the field of agriculture when we talk about food and food security, apart from the shade house, we have 10 young people who are energetic. We are now in the process of clearing 50 acres of land. We want to go into commercial agriculture,” Toshao Pearson disclosed.

Various crops that are in high demand including cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, and pak choy will be cultivated.

“We are planning and we’re getting into a business. We are going to sell our produce. We have our school feeding programme that we will be targeting.  Presently, some of the greens are coming from the coastal area. We will be producing those now. We have the Lake Mainstay Resort that will bring their tomatoes, and cucumbers from the coast also. We will be producing that in Mainstay, healthy food right here,” Toshao Pearson emphasised.

Calaloo under cultivation at the shade house

She also lauded the partnership between the government, Canadian High Commission, and the village council to develop the community and provide various benefits for the residents in the form of training.

Meanwhile, residents also benefitted from technical training relating to the shade houses from NAREI and said they are channelling the new skills to expand agriculture in the community.

From the project, residents will benefit from employment opportunities, which will see money being generated in the community, thereby improving the livelihoods of the residents.

A section of the land being cleared for the construction of more shade houses

MP Pearson said while more shade houses will be established subsequently, a portion of the current one will be utlilised by Grades Five and Six pupils, allowing them to be involved in agriculture at a young age.

She also added that Mainstay intends to tap into the lucrative ‘Cut Rose Project’ which can help to significantly boost the village economy. Mainstay/Whyaka remains cognisant that food production is important, as the government continues to accelerate its food security efforts to achieve the 25 by 2025 goal.