More than $70M budgeted to expand coconut industry

The Government has proposed an allocation of over $70 million in the 2021 National Budget to advance and further expand services provided at the Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL), East Coast Demerara.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh made this announcement during his presentation on Friday.  The Minister said coconut is the new frontier crop in the agriculture sector and is expected to take off over the medium term.

General Manager of the Hope Estate, Mr. Ricky Roopchand.

This administration will fund the establishment of four new coconut nurseries at Wakenaam, Leguan, Canal No. 2 and No. 63 Village in Corentyne, which will each produce 1,500 to 3,000 coconut seedlings, every three months,” he said.

This will enable farmers to benefit from high quality planting material at an affordable cost. 

“Technical training on inter-cropping and cultivation will be provided to coconut farmers to help them optimise their returns on investments.  Support from Government will see the private sector investing in over 1,000 acres of coconut estates, in the near term,” the Minister added.

Speaking with DPI, General Manager of the Hope Estate, Mr. Ricky Roopchand said he is pleased about the allocation, noting that it is a significant increase from the previous allotments when the estate received a fixed amount of $3 million.

The sum for the capital project would be used to finance four additional coconut nurseries, purchase a tractor and Canter truck, erect two shade houses and fence the compound, he said. 

Other allocations would be used for the National Coconut Sensitisation Programme and other operational costs of the entity.

Over $10 million was approved for the estate in the Emergency Budget of 2020 for capital works, which was used to establish two coconut nurseries at Kairuni and Charity, the construction of a wooden bridge and extension and equipment for the estate office.

Coconut Seedlings at the Hope Estate nursery

The Hope Coconut Estate produces 100,000 coconut seedlings for farms across the country annually, to advance the development of the coconut industry.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha has said the development of the coconut industry in Guyana is a priority and as such, much focus has been given to revitalising the industry, which is the third largest export crop after rice and sugar.