Hinterland agriculture
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp

Ebini’s development at a glance

GUYANA is particularly vulnerable to climate change and must concentrate on adapting to and/or mitigating the worst impacts of this phenomenon. As part of our adaption measures, we will be shifting agriculture inland. Importantly, agriculture must be done in a sustainable manner to reduce harm to the environment.

The theme for this year’s Agriculture Month: “Shaping Agriculture for a Green Economy” is apt in terms of the country’s policies and programmes. Investing in a green economy has the potential to enhance food security, reduce poverty, improve nutrition and health, and create rural jobs while reducing pressure on the environment, including Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

Farming practices and technologies that are instrumental in greening agriculture include restoring and enhancing soil fertility, crop rotations, improving water use efficiency, reducing chemical, pesticide and herbicide use and reducing food spoilage and loss by expanding the use of post-harvest storage and processing facilities.

As the country’s economic base is moved inland, agriculture stations are being constructed at the major eco-zones in the country, including Ebini, Region 10. These stations aim to demonstrate the agricultural potential of the area, such as orchards, nurseries, soil management and seed production as well as breeding herds of cattle and small ruminants to provide breeding stock for farmers and seed stock. These initiatives will create new employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly and will complement other activities such as mining, forestry and support service activities.

The intermediate savannahs have been earmarked as the next frontier for agricultural and agro-industrial development. This fertile area of Guyana comprises four discrete savannah land areas – Wiruni, Tacama/Ituni, Kibilibiri/Eberoabo and Ebini/Kimbia and Torani Savannahs. The savannahs comprise approximately 292,000 ha (703,000 acres) of which 87,000 ha (210,000 acres) are recommended for agricultural development. The term ‘intermediate’ is derived from the fact that these savannahs are south of the coastal savannahs and north of the south-western (Rupununi) savannahs.

Agricultural interest in the Intermediate Savannahs dates back to the 1920’s with the opening of the cattle trail from the Rupununi. During those years, cattle were walked through the trail and held briefly at Tacama prior to being shipped by boat down the Berbice River to the coastland and urban markets.

The Ebini Research Station is one of the oldest continuous research entities in Guyana, having been established in 1940. The station initially started as a livestock research station. The crop research station was established in the early-mid 1960s. Over the years the station has been responsible for the development of a number of crop and livestock farming systems applicable to the Intermediate Savannahs.

The total area of the station is approximately 22,128 ha (54, 681 acres), and the primary agriculture entities include Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), and Hydrometerological Service. It must be noted that the utilisation of these lands are not all for crop or livestock production, only about 400 acres is occupied for the Research Station, a majority is left to maintain its natural state and for future use. A portion of the land is for improved pastures to graze animal, and part for orchard crops.

NAREI has responsibility for all crop research and commercial activities in the Intermediate Savannahs. At the Ebini Station, NAREI maintains as well as conduct research activities on both open row as well as permanent crops. Additionally, the Ebini Station is also tasked with ensuring that adequate seed material for a number of crop types, such as Minica 4 (red pea), peanut, corn, soybean, cassava and fruit crops (mainly citrus, guava, avocado and sour sap) that are adapted to the savannah ecosystem are available, for the farming community.

The Ebini Station is also the Plant Genetic Resource, national repository for mango and coconut germplasm. Currently, there are 30 acres under cultivation. Additionally, the Hydromet Unit of Ebini provides metrological data for the Intermediate Savannahs as a whole and more specifically for the Ebini location.

The Ministry of Agriculture has aligned its work programme to realise the Intermediate Savannahs as the next agricultural centre and has also prioritised the implementation of policies for the development of the Rupununi Savannahs. The approach for the agriculture development of the savannahs is an integrated approach utilising private/public partnerships, with support from medium to large enterprises operating in the area. These are large to medium size agricultural producers who are willing to invest in the area, the farming communities already in the area, as well as exporters, agro-processors, etc. who will benefit directly through enhanced livelihoods.

There are a number of private institutions operating in the Savannahs, these include,
New Frontier Agricultural Company, in the Ebini and Ituni Savannahs, an entity that has Brazilian roots and access to the technological advances used in Brazil for crop production particularly corn and soy production. They were also instrumental in assisting NAREI in conducting research for the commercialisation of soy production in the Intermediate Savannahs. Also, in the Tacama Savannahs, there are the Dubulay Ranch, Citrus Company Guyana Incorporated, and Lu Lu’s Farm.

However, development of investment packages requires strong research data all of which is not available at the present time. And there is more work to be done on the transportation system. Beginning with the plans under the Sustainable Agriculture Development Project (SADP), the research (technology generation) and extension activities of NAREI and GLDA will provide innovative technologies and support to the production activities of both the large and small producers in the system.

The Sustainable Agriculture Development Project (SADP) has a component that focus on ‘strengthening the agricultural innovation and extension system’, under which G$100 M will be expended for the rehabilitation of buildings and development of research and extension programmes for Ebini Research Station. These works are expected to commence in early 2019.

Shaping Agriculture for a Green Economy is in line with the Ministry of Agriculture plans for agricultural development of the Savannah areas of the country. However, social and economic developments are required. For instance the Ebini Station required better road access, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has completed the road from Ituni to Takama Water Front and the NDIA has completed the road from Takama Water Front into the Ebini Station. Additionally, more reliable river transport is required, as such, GLDA has procured a G$50 M cattle barge to transport animal from the station to Coastland for the farmers in the Berbice River and the intermediate savannahs.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online

Daily E-Paper


Business Supplement


Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.