-5 year strategic plan to be rolled-out shortly
Several new programs will be added to the work of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) which is expected to significantly boost the operation of the Institute. Among the plans, NAREI will soon roll-out its “Young Researcher Fellowship Programme” which will see youth in Agriculture benefiting from training.
This announcement was made by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NAREI, Dr. Patrick Chesney while addressing the opening of the two-day Research Conference held under the theme, “Agriculture: Guyana’s Pathway to a Green Economy” at the Plant Science Building, GSA Compound.
“The Board of NAREI is re-organizing to, firstly fulfil its mandate, and secondly, to significantly contribute to a modern agricultural sector through use of environmentally friendly innovative and relevant research methods and tools for development” Dr. Chesney said.
In light of this new shift, NAREI will also be looking at a future collaboration with cooperatives in the ten Administrative Regions as the institute works to boost its collaborative research infrastructure and programmes.
Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder in delivering the feature address charged the Institute to ensure its mandate gives priority to more enhanced strategies for sustainable and inclusive economic development. According to the Agriculture Minister, targeted research can pave the way for more viable food production in response to growing world demand; sustainable management of natural resources and climate-smart agriculture; and balanced development of coastal and hinterland areas and their communities.
” It is important for researchers and scientists to continue efforts to bridge the gap between theory and practice, to enable the agricultural sector and farming areas to become more sustainable and competitive and capable of adapting to new challenges.” the Minister said.
However, in light of Government’s vision for a Green State Development Strategy, the subject Minister noted that while much is being done in tandem with the objectives, several key areas should be addressed. Among those are:-
- Productivity: to focus on import substitution and export promotion to reduce Guyana’s food import bill which currently stands at US$ 252 million, thereby making Guyana a competitive and leading producer of high quality food and feed.
- Sustainability: Biodiversity and Biosafety advancement through preserving and strengthening natural values and protecting Guyana from cross-border plant and animal
- Resource Efficiency: Given the limited availability of resources for both the government and the farming population, resource efficiency is always a necessity
- Rural/Hinterland development: Increasing the attractiveness and viability of rural/hinterland areas via the developmental growth model that is based on research, technology and innovation.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Dr. Oudho Homenauth said that while the Institute’s development programmes have been re-oriented from time -to-time on the basis of national and global changes, new challenges confronted today warrants a renewed concept of agriculture.
“This renewed concept embraces the entire agri-food/agri-product commodity chain, incorporating the direct and indirect linkages with both rural and national economies as well as regional markets, and the rest of the world,” Dr. Homenauth said.
Among the areas of highlight, Dr. Homenauth made mention of successes in the area of spices, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet peppers by the institute which has seen farmers countrywide benefiting.
Guyana is presently self-sufficient in sweet pepper production and the Institute is working to ensure self-sufficiency of the other mention crops, would be attained in the not too distant future.