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Berbice farmers familiarised with new technologies

Article from kaieteur news

February 20, 2009 | By knews | Filed Under News 

Twelve farmers from Berbice recently had the opportunity to learn about new technologies when they toured Greenfield Farms, Timehri, East Bank Demerara.

The tour was facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development/Guyana Trade and Investment Support (USAID/GTIS) project.

The purpose of the tour was to teach farmers about advanced technologies in farming and the benefits of using shade cloth, drip lines, plastic mulch, and UV plastic.

Greenfield Farms originated from a vision of four New York-based Guyanese that attended an investment seminar in New York for Guyanese diaspora. After the seminar, the four decided to collaborate with a local businessman in Guyana to establish a state-of-the-art agricultural farm.

The group partnered with the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and finalised an agreement stipulating that Greenfield Farms would be allowed to lease land in Timehri on which to construct 20 greenhouses over a given period of time.

Greenfield Farms’ initiative is to produce crops targeted towards export markets using greenhouse, shade house, drip irrigation and other advanced agricultural technologies.

The facility is equipped with a nursery to house seedlings, and the establishment of a pack-house (to package and store produce for export) is also in the works.

Once production gets underway, NARI will have the advantage of using Greenfield Farms as a demonstration plot for research purposes, facilitating tours for farmers and schools to highlight the benefits of modern technology in agricultural practices.

The farm is equipped with state-of-the-art irrigation systems (drip lines and fertiliser injectors) that allow fertilisers to be administered directly into the irrigation system at specific quantities.

The facility also incorporates shade cloth and UV plastic to eliminate excessive sunlight and rainfall. Insect nets are also present on site to ensure that any pesticide use is kept to a minimum.

“I am very much impressed with the greenhouse facility. With the ongoing climate change, excessive rainfall and the rising food prices, this is the best way to save costs, reduce pests and disease, and get the most out of your crop,” USAID/GTIS quoted farmer Dhaniram Ramchand as saying after the tour.

The produce of Greenfield Farms will be targeted towards regional markets. Discussions with distributors, supermarket chains and farmers’ associations regionally and in North America have all been fruitful, with buyers showing interest in sourcing products from Guyana.

Greenfield Farms plans on growing several crops that are in high demand locally and overseas. A selection of these includes: Tomato (plum, cherry, large/round); Sweet Pepper (yellow, red, green); Cantaloupe; Honeydew Melon; Broccoli; Cauliflower; String Beans; Squash (several varieties); Seedless Watermelon; Papaya; Carrots; Lettuce; Cabbage; Hot Pepper (several varieties); and Herbs (various types).

To help Guyana’s agriculture sector further develop, the Ministry of Agriculture has prioritised the promotion of agricultural exports and the training of farmers in utilising advanced agricultural technologies.