─ focus on sustainable practices
─ will boost Extension Personnel Capacity
The fourth annual Agriculture Research Conference is being hosted at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) under the theme “Paving the way for sustainable development through innovative and adaptive research”.
The conference is being hosted by the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI). CEO of the institute, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, gave the opening remarks where he outlined the reason for these conferences.
“Our current and future research agenda must continue to give priority to strategies for sustainable and economic development. It is therefore necessary that our researchers and extension personnel become fully acquainted with sustainable agricultural development, and that is, as I said, the basis for this conference.”
Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood reaffirmed the ministry’s stance on embracing sustainable agriculture and the importance it plays in ensuring food security, thereby helping us to work towards Goal 2 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Zero Hunger.
A few of the sustainable farming practices that have emerged are Crop Rotation and embracing diversity, Planting of row crops, the use of Integrated Pest Management Techniques, integrating crops and livestock, adopting agroforestry systems and the Utilisation of composts/vermicompost.
“Sustainable agricultural practices are intended to protect the environment, expand the earth’s natural base, and maintain and improve soil fertility. Agricultural research is one of the main factors contributing to shifts in Agricultural production systems and changes in the rural world. In particular, it is helping to improve productivity, to increase agricultural incomes, and to change agricultural practices,” Dr. Homenauth explained.
While this research is essential, implementing the findings of these research papers is where the real challenge lies, as Country Representative for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to Guyana, Dr. Gillian Smith outlines.
“The application of that research to the field is another area that is going to be very vital, and it requires not just researchers, it requires the input and cooperation and collaboration with farmers because farmers are the first line of defence, they’re the ones who note changes and these changes need to be looked at in a systematic and scientific way.”
To this end, with an effective collaborative effort between farmer and extension officer, the best practices derived from these research papers can be properly imparted and implemented in the field.
The fourth annual Agriculture Research Conference will last for two days. It will feature several research papers being presented on various issues such as Agriculture and Food Safety, Climate Smart Agricultural Practices and Sustainable Soil management practices, to name a few.