NAREI building capacity of extension officers
The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will be training and equipping extension officers to better serve the growing needs of farmers in Guyana.
Chief Executive Officer of the NAREI, Dr Oudho Homenauth recently told DPI, that there are some challenges hampering the delivery of extension services.
“One of the issues we may have sometimes is transportation issues, which we are addressing. We ensure that they are present. You have to ensure that you have all the precautions, so they have been equipped with masks and whatever else they need to go out there,” Dr. Homenauth said.
The agency will also be utilising more modern technologies and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to alert farmers about issues and to receive feedback from them.
“Feedback is very important because that is what drives your research and other activities. So, what we have been doing is ensuring that their (extension officers) phones are in order because we have been giving them allowances for the phones. So, if they have issues which they cannot resolve, they can send pictures to us immediately,” he explained.
Dr. Homenauth also said with renewed interest in the sector, the number of extension officers will also increase.
“They need training as well because a lot of persons we have are new to the system. So, we will train them in batches very shortly so they will become equipped. We have started back developing our manuals, our little fact sheets that they can utilise,” Dr. Homenauth said.”
Dr Homenauth said climate change has also caused adverse impacts which NAREI will try to mitigate by advocating shade house cultivation. The extension officers will also be providing guidance to farmers in this method of cultivation.
“The training of the extension people will be an activity that we will be doing ,especially the new persons who coming in the system. We have to understand also that many of the persons are right out of the Guyana School of Agriculture and the University of Guyana and they may not have that necessary expertise and experience; they may know the theory but to get it to the farmers themselves, that’s a technique that they have to get accustomed to and it can only come with training and interactions,” Dr Homenauth said.
NAREI is establishing demonstration farms across the regions to help the extension officers develop their capacity.