Local farmers to adopt drip irrigation technique


Guyanese farmers were yesterday exposed to demonstrations of the popular drip irrigation technique by consultants from a Jamaican firm with the intention of having more local farms adopt the system and ultimately expand its use here.
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said he has given the project his ‘nod of approval’ as modern, innovative and relevant technology becomes more cost effective and time appropriate.
Minister Persaud was speaking at a seminar to educate farmers on drip irrigation held at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.
Drip irrigation is the slow application of water to the soil through small openings on lines which are laid along the cultivation plot.
Large farms are no longer forced to employ a huge workforce for the purpose of manual labour since technological advances require less hands and more science.
“In Guyana, we’ve been seeking to expose farmers not only to new but relevant technology. This technology is beneficial for populations where citizens are aged or where children are no longer sent to work on farms but are educated instead.”
Minister Persaud noted that this development can increase productivity, viability and competitiveness by reducing cost and ensuring product standards meet international requirements.
With Guyana’s Agricultural Diversification Programme on stream, $1.2M will be spent on the procurement of equipment which farmers will be trained to properly utilise.
The Agriculture Minister stated that drip irrigation will greatly benefit the interior and Rupununi savannahs where inadequate rainfall affects crops from reaching full potential.
The minister has since invested in 10 systems in each of the regions and has permitted the Guyana Agricultural Producers Association (GAPA) to install an additional 14.
Drip irrigation was first set up in a few farming districts after being introduced to Guyana in October, 2006, to allow a constant supply of water through pipes which are placed close to the plants.
Through this system, enough water is supplied to meet crop demands and a supply of moisture is maintained in root zones throughout the growing season.
The technique was fashioned accidentally in Israel where rainfall is minimal and desert-like conditions persist throughout the region.