ONE of the long-term objectives of the model farm at Fort Wellington, Region Five, (Mahaica/Berbice) is to assist cash crop farmers to process their produce instead of having them go to waste.
The problem with achieving this, however, is that the region would need money, Regional Executive Officer, Ovid Morrison, told Guyana Chronicle in an invited comment recently.
Speaking at the recent government outreach in Berbice, at which various ministers of government were on hand to interact with members of the public, Morrison observed that getting into processing means that the farmers would not have to struggle to obtain a market for their produce, especially when they have an excess.
He recalled that the intention of the model farm is to bring a “consciousness” to the young people in the region, “to remove from them this stigma that agriculture is the last grade”.
He said the region had proposed to do this by teaching agriculture in a scientific manner. “That is, teaching them land selection, crop selection, crop rotation, waste consolidation, etc.”
Morrison said the farm is not intended to ‘kill’ the cash crop farmers in the region but to assist them. He pointed out how the region helps the farmers to find a market for their produce outside of the region. “If the cash crop farmers have an excess, we take it and sell it off to other regions and bring back the money to them.”
Speaking about the benefits of the facility, Morrison pointed out: “You would find that people in agriculture… what can go to market, they send to market; what cannot go, they dump about the place. If we can teach them how they can consolidate the waste, it would help them.”
Meanwhile, despite vehement protests by squatters, the regional administration of Region Five went ahead with the establishment of the farm, which demonstrates best-farming and integrated farming practices.
Morrison had said that the project occupies 30 to 35 acres of the 49.7 acres of the land in the area and was in response to a charge by President David Granger for the Region to craft a Plan of Action for Regional Development (PARD).
The intention is that interested residents and farmers, as well as senior school children in the region or even further afield, can visit and learn about the application of modern concepts in the production of crops, livestock and fish.
Morrison had highlighted that integrated farming eliminates the need for many expensive inputs typically associated with conventional agricultural production, such as feed and fertiliser.
The Model Farm, he said, was intended to demonstrate the use of integrated farming systems such as those in which waste products from animals can serve as fertiliser or feed for fish and such water can be used as fertiliser for crops in a sort of cycle which makes a small farm almost completely self-reliant in the required inputs for cheap but highly productive agricultural production.
The region had also intended to assist senior students who are enthused by the technology of the Model Farm, in obtaining land from the Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA), which is the Regional Land Administration agency, so that they can get involved in developing efficient and profitable systems of crops, livestock and fish production.