US University partners with NAREI, UG to bolster sweet potato production.

Sweet potato production in Guyana will be enhanced thanks to collaboration between the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), Partners of America (Local Chapter), the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the University of Guyana.

A two-member team from UAPB comprising Dr. James Garner, Sweet Potato Specialist, and Dr. Edmund Buckner, Dean of School of Agriculture, recently visited Guyana to initiate the project implementation activities.

They met with Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder and other key stakeholders including Chief Executive Officer of NAREI, Dr. Oudho Homenauth. Minister Holder expressed his gratitude to the UAPB team for selecting Guyana to be part of this important activity and pledged the Ministry’s full support for the project. The project duration is five years.

The project, which is being funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will focus on improving seed quality in order to boost production and yields.

Emphasizes will be placed on the development of superior sweet potato lines as measured by horticultural quality, reduced virus infection and increased yield and soil pest resistance.

Additionally, two local scientists would be trained in the areas of micro-propagation and biotech procedures needed to establish a virus tested sweet potato foundation seed programme.

The successful implementation of this project will add to NAREI’s efforts in advancing sweet potato production. NAREI is currently conducting sweet potato trails at Mon Repos and Parika. The aim of the trails is to determine whether the use of sprinkler irrigation would increase yields. Further, NAREI is also engaged in the multiplication of different varieties of sweet potatoes.