– additional farms, ponds established
– prawn production to begin soon, ‘Agri’ Minister says
WITH the expansion of 1,833 acres of ponds in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Guyana’s shrimp production has been increasing rapidly, says Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha.
“We have seen a number of ponds that have already been completed. To date, we have completed 1,833 acres of ponds; that gave us 89 farms [and] 180 ponds.
“To date, we are seeing production increasing every month,” Mustapha said, on Tuesday, in an interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
In 2021, Minister Mustapha met with various stakeholders at the Albion Sports Complex, where he stressed that the government was “looking to improve shrimp farming in Berbice”.
He announced then that his ministry will be spending $58 million on shrimp ponds in Region Six to boost production.
On Tuesday, he reiterated that the government had been working ‘assiduously’ to ramp up production.
“We are working very hard to complete this project. We are about 80 per cent into completion and I am hoping at the end of it all we can have 12,000 kilogrammes monthly, and we can get the projected outcome of 1.2 million kilogrammes annually,” the Agriculture Minister said.
He added, “This is showing very good sign for us and I think that with the civil works that we are doing in enhancing the ponds and putting other mechanisms in place, we will see more and more production.”
Earlier this year, some $153 million was earned after the production of some 127,400 kilogrammes of shrimp between January and March, 2022.
The total showed 81,740 kilogrammes more when compared to the 45,660 kilogrammes of shrimp produced during the same period in 2021, at an estimated value of $40 million.
Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha disclosed that the government will soon begin production of prawns in the West Coast and East Bank of Berbice.
“While we are doing the brackish water shrimp, we are also looking to start prawn production very shortly. We will start in the West Coast Berbice and East Bank Berbice [areas where] two projects will start.”
According to the Minister, the project which was launched by President, Dr Irfaan Ali at the ‘Agri’ Investment Forum and Expo back in May will target women, youths and former sugar estate workers who were left unemployed after the closure of the sugar estates in 2017 by the then-A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government.
Additionally, with the collaboration of the Hubu Aqua Farm, Minister Mustapha is optimistic that prawn production will see good results, thus boosting Guyana’s aquaculture prospects.
“We will have our own larvae that will be produced by the farm; so we won’t have to import it now; we will produce it and within this kind of production we will increase our aquaculture income tremendously.”