Soil Testing Lab commissioned at Berbice Campus
― potential to increase yields by 30%
― to enhance and effectively promote agriculture in the region
― farmers to benefit from cost reduction
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, November 25, 2019
Farmers in Berbice and across the country will now be able to benefit from a state-of-the-art Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory which was officially commissioned at the University of Guyana’s John’s Campus, East Berbice-Corentyne on November 25.
Sudama Jagmohan, a farmer of Black Bush Polder who has been in the business for over forty years, welcomed the opening of the facility which he described as a “timely” initiative for farmers in Berbice. Jagmohan said he plans to take soil to be tested before he commences planting for a new crop.
The facility was built at the cost of $40M by the Nand Persaud Group of Companies, in collaboration with the University of Guyana, and can test soil, water and plant disease.
It was initiated by Director of University of Guyana Berbice Campus (UGBC) Professor Subramaniam Gomathinayagam who noted the necessity for such a facility for the many farmers often seek answers to plant diseases that would affect their crops. Samples of soil, plants or water can be taken to the facility for evaluation and results will be provided in fourteen days. Professor Gomathinayagam further added that farmers will be advised on the amount of fertilizer required as well as other additives needed to grow plants healthily and also be guided about their soil fertility among other aspects.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Nand Persaud Group of Companies (NPGC), Rajendra Persaud, while delivering brief remarks, highlighted that through use of the laboratory, rice farmers can potentially increase their yields. “We feel that that the potential is there for the rice industry to increase yields by 25 to 30% and that potential is now realised because the farmers must understand how to treat the soil… We are putting in the effort because we want to see farmers continue to be profitable.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE) Professor Paloma Mohamed congratulated the company for bringing the project to fruition and for agreeing to give the university a percentage of their profit after expenses and provide two support scholarships to students at the Berbice Campus.
“This project is valuable, and we are happy to host it on campus. Our students will be interning here. The community and other parts of the country will see a value from this project in that they will be able to do some get testing helping them solve major problems that have been plaguing them and to help them move to higher productivity,” Professor Mohamed said.
Describing the establishment of the facility as “technology being used to accelerate the provision of information and data to farmers,” Pro-Chancellor (ret’d) Major General Joe Singh called on youths to make use of this technology and tap into the agriculture sector.
Singh advised: “Young people would be wise to see agriculture not as a burdensome back-breaking physically arduous vocation but as something which is necessary and which can use technology to ensure food security.”