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The revitalization of the Coconut Industry is paramount and remains on the top of Government’s developmental agenda for the industry. As such, efforts are being made to ensure the development of the industry by making available quality seedlings to farmers’.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Noel Holder, facilitated a Partnership Agreement between the Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (CARDI) today for the expansion of the Coconut Nursery at Hope Estate.

The Agreement which was signed in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Agriculture by CARDI’S Representative (Guyana), Dr. Cyril Roberts and Hope Estate’s General Manager, Mr. Rickey Roopchand, will cater for the production of 50,000 seedlings in the first year.

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Dr. Roberts in delivering remarks stated that the initiatives forms part of CARDI’s Coconut Development project which is being implemented across 9 different (CARICOM) countries.

“The Hope Estate will be responsible for the management of the Nurseries and from our visit there recently, we are pleased thus far, with the progress made and the work being done to ensure farmers have access to high-quality seedlings,” Roberts said.

General Manager, Hope Estate, Mr. Ricky Roopchand, in welcoming the joint venture pointed to the fact that such an initiative is both timely and augers well for the advancement of the coconut industry in Guyana.

He added that when the project is fully implemented, Hope Estate will have the capacity to supply 1,000 coconut seedlings weekly to farmers.

“The implementation of this project will also result in farmers having easy access to adequate amounts of high-quality coconut seedlings at an affordable cost. In addition, the income generated from the sale of coconut seedlings will significantly boost the income stream of the Estate,” he said.

Meanwhile, calls were made by the Agriculture Minister for the entities to continue collaboration so as to ensure the technical support is given for the advancement of the industry.

“We do look forward to a very productive working partnership with CARDI which we are confident will provide benefits to our agriculture sector and by extension our country,” Minister Holder said.

CARDI, which is a Regional Institute established by the CARICOM Heads of Government, is in the process of resuscitating the CARICOM Regional Coconut industry and today’s exercise is in partnership with the International Trade Center with funding support through the 10th European Development Fund.

According to Minister Holder, efforts are being made to ensure that a long-term partnership is established with CARDI in the areas of research and commercial production of coconut seedlings.

In the Partnership Agreement, CARDI will be responsible for establishing research and demonstration plots of seedlings in conjunction with the Management of the Hope Estate and the establishment and management of coconut Nurseries.

Technical advisory and financial support towards the project will be provided both by CARDI and the Ministry of Agriculture through the Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL).  The identification of appropriate germplasm material suitable for the multiplication and sale of appropriate planting materials will also be done.

The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has been playing a lead role in ensuring farmers have access to quality seedlings for production, as government positions the sector to tap into the regional and international markets. Thus far, NAREI has made available over 2000 quality seedlings to farmers in the different coconut-growing regions.

Also present at today’s event were, Chief Executive Officer of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Secretary of the Board of Directors, Hope Estate, Mr. Omadatt Chandan, Scientist at CARDI’s Trinidad and Tobago Office, Dr. Annika Minott and Caribbean Development Bank (CIB), Consultant, Dr. Wayne Myrie.

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