Young researchers dominate Agri-Research Conference

─ NAREI helping to bring more youth to agri-sector

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Young researchers dominated the recently concluded Research Conference held by the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA).

The conference featured presentations from mostly youthful presenters. While many are gainfully employed, there are those like Yennel O’Brien, who is still at the University of Guyana (UG) pursuing her first degree. Her presentation features a study of the efficacy of using Noni plant parts as a supplement in Broiler bird diet.

“The continuous use of antibiotics in animal feed has led to a rise in resistant bacteria and compromised the treatment of Bacterial infections in humans. In India herbal formulations showed improvement in poultry performance, M. Citrifolia, also known as Noni is said to have anti-bacterial and immune-enhancing properties.”

The Department of Public Information (DPI) team caught up with O’Brien after her presentation, to get a feel of what it felt like for her to deliver her findings on such a grand stage.

“I was nervous at first, but whilst doing the presentation, I got a little bit more confident and it was a wonderful experience for me.”

Whilst her research didn’t yield the desired results due to palatability issues of the Noni plant, she is more than excited to get right back into her study and overcome this minor challenge.

The heavy presence of youthful faces was not lost on CEO of NAREI Dr. Oudho Homenauth, who was very appreciative of the findings of these young agricultural scholars.

“If you look around here, and I can tell you – the majority of young people that are present, that we are nurturing to be the next generation, they feel important, to know they are coming to this forum, presenting their results and we appreciate that, it gives them more encouragement to continue along this path, and that has been one of the successes to me.”

Dr. Homenauth, in his opening address for the conference, had advocated for making agriculture more alluring for the younger generation. This has been something that the Ministry of Agriculture has been pushing for, to inject more youthfulness into the sector.

“We are always told, and we are fully aware that we have an ageing farming population. What we need to do is to make agriculture more tech-savvy. We need to talk about robotics, sensors and the internet; this can make the agriculture sector more interesting and exciting for young people.”

The Research Conference, which is held annually, is being hosted by NAREI.  The agency has always been working with students from the University of Guyana (UG) on various research projects which are then presented at the conference.