West Berbice onion production very encouraging

DPI, Sunday, June 03, 2018

If onion production in West Berbice continues to be as encouraging, as it has been famers may soon be able to fully supply the local market.

This follows the initiation of a 2017 trial project by the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce and Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) in partnership with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).

Jason Persaud a field officer attached to PROPEL along with representatives from other agencies, were at Plantation Yeoville, West Coast Berbice, last Wednesday to witness the harvesting of another bumper crop of onions. Each of the different varieties of onion cultivated, by members of the area’s Community Development Council, was just as heartening.

Persaud also stated that the research project at Fort Wellington, which was conducted by two students of the University of Guyana, provided satisfactory yields. That project was embarked upon with the primary objective being to garner data to be documented for future reference to benefit those who may want to embark on onion production on a large scale.

It was in May last year that several farmers were on hand to witness the harvesting of a similar PROPEL pilot project in Hopetown, which proved to be successful. In late April, a Philippi Village farmer, Rawle Medford, also participating in the initiative reaped the single largest crop of onions in Guyana – 450 pounds. The young farmer was given the opportunity to be part of a project and took the challenge head-on.

Massey, a distribution giant in Guyana has aligned itself by providing tangible support for the onion initiative. Farmers and groups who produce onion of satisfactory quality are assured of a market for their produce as long as the required standards are met.

PROPEL is a Canadian funded project which seeks to link fresh produce buyers in the region and beyond with Caribbean farmers, processers and related businesses. And, the projects are implemented by WUSC, World University Services of Canada, with financial support from donors and the Government of Canada.

Having initiated the pilot project, PROPEL is now adopting the role of facilitator, while allowing stakeholders to become involved.

According to Jason Persaud, the National Agriculture Research Institute has a mandate to promote local production of a number of crops so as to reduce importation of such, and onion is listed among these. Therefore, the current initiative is seeking to promote the large-scale production of onion with the aim of removing this item from Guyana’s catalog of imported products, and further to be listed as an exported product.

By Bertie Peters

Images by Bertie Peters