– NAREI continues to advance efforts in the non-traditional sector
THE traditional sector has always been the backbone of Guyana’s development. However, advances made in the non-traditional sector have shown that the country has also prospered with its advancement. Since then much has been done to ensure the sector thrives. At the level of NAREI, efforts have been made to push the cultivation of spices (such as black pepper, turmeric, nutmeg and ginger), onion and carrots on a large scale to assist in the reduction of the country’s import bill.
Guyana’s import bill for spices currently stands at US$1 million compared to US$200 million five years ago. How was this possible? With the help of the country’s dedicated farmers and research staff, policymakers were able to craft a way forward to develop this sector. Since then, annually NAREI has been working with local farmers to further develop the non-traditional sector. Over the last five years, black pepper, turmeric, nutmeg and ginger production have been at an all-time high. This was further supported with the construction of a spice factory in Region One.
“The sector has tremendous potential for development and through public awareness, continuous training and the provision of quality planting materials we can ensure more acres are put under cultivation” according to Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Chief Executive Officer, NAREI.
Last year, production of the commodities grew significantly when compared to the figures five years ago. In 2015, ginger production stood at 12, 527 MT and Turmeric 352 MT. Last year, the production figures were 32,508 MT and 1677 MT, respectively. The spice programme through NAREI was resuscitated in 2008 and has since produced commendably. Research has proven that Guyana has vast potential for the commodity. With assistance from NAREI farmers across the country are cultivating spices on a large scale to support the high local and regional demand.
“Within all of this, research continues to play an integral role. Targeted research will help to address the challenges which we (country) face with good production……we continue to see a growth in the non-transitional sectors with a recorded 2.5 percent increase in 2018 alone,” Dr. Homenauth said.
Increasingly, farmers are utilising shaded cultivation, and practising integrated pest and water management respectively and crop diversification. With the impact of climate change being experienced already, NAREI continues to play an important role in the areas of research and development of relevant and easily transferable technology and planting materials to ensure that the country remains productive.