NAREI plans to up spice production

The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) plans to intensify the production and processing of blackpepper, tumeric, ginger and nutmeg.

Local manufacturers import raw materials for the processing of these four spices however, based on production and market potential, the institute has made efforts to expand the provision of raw material locally. NAREI has declared that Guyana is producing spices on a semi-commercial scale which will eventually lead to continuous processing and production.


Ginger (spice) plants at NAREI’s Nursery

Research Scientist of the spices programme at NAREI, Ramnarace Sukhna told the Government Information Agency ( GINA), “We have here in Guyana, for example, Ricks and Sari, Continental Group of Companies – we have the Beharrys’, Edward B Beharry they used to bring in all their raw material from different places, probably Indonesia, Vietnam, and India so instead of doing that, bringing in raw material, we find the need to resuscitate the spice programme so that our farmers, our companies can benefit here in Guyana.”

The spice programme through NAREI was resuscitated in 2008. Research has proven that Guyana has potential to restart raw material production. In the 1960s, spices were produced on a large scale, with produce coming primarily from Region One.

“Spices have a long history in Guyana; it started way back in 1960. Region One used to be the bread basket of spices. We had a lot of turmeric and ginger emanating from that region. One of the main problems that we faced in that region in the 1960s was processing. You needed to process these spices so that they come out fresh, (if not)) they get spoilt if you don’t preserve them in the right manner. Then it was a fertile soil, Region One has a fertile soil for the spices’ production, but it was abandoned because the people do not know how to process it so most of it was spoiling,” Sukhna explained.


Blackpepper (spice) at NAREI at the stage before harvesting for processing

The spice programme was resuscitated in 2008 in regions where the soil was appropriate for the production of turmeric and ginger, in particular. The institute plans to begin mass production of turmeric and other spices in 2017.

The Scientist explained that, “I have imported a turmeric grinder and a polisher from India along with that of a ginger grinder…the soil is so fertile and the people are very enthusiastic in planting these spices there so we place the machines there because we have larger cultivation of these spices.”

Farmers across the country are already cultivating spices on a large scale in preparation for the processing phase which is expected to start soon. “We will be kick-starting the processing, the polishing of turmeric by January- February of 2017; the building is already constructed. We already have all the equipment up there, we are waiting on an engineer from India to set up the machines so that we can start the processing,” Sukhna said.

The spice project was re-introduced through a pilot programme which was rolled out in nine of the ten administrative regions in Guyana. Other spices are currently being explored for continued production in 2017.