The effects of climate change are factors behind the decision to diversify the agriculture sector to the hinterland.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Dr. Oudho Homenauth, told the Government Information Agency (GINA), that the decision to advance agricultural production in the hinterland was based on the evidence of climate change and the need to secure the sector.
“One of the main factors had to do with climate change. You know, the constant flooding. Drought and flooding would’ve been the major issues.” Dr. Homenauth said, adding that the soil type in the hinterland is better for growing certain crops that include corn and soya bean.
The CEO added that with the hinterland agriculture diversification programme, growth in the new and other crops sub sector is projected at 2.5 percent in 2017.
In 2016, farms were established at Hosororo, Ebini and Cato to facilitate trials of new crops. The soil types in these areas have been identified as an excellent source of required nutrients for planting such crops as Soursop.
With these facilities in place, major agricultural works will continue in 2017 at these hinterland stations where Watermelon, corn, tomato, turmeric, ginger and a number of other crops will be cultivated. Additional crops are also being explored to push the diversification process.
“We don’t want to rely on a single variety. For example, in watermelons we are looking at some new varieties, two new varieties this year that we are starting on. We have some new tomato varieties that are specific. It’s not the ones that are used for cooking purposes, we are looking at those that can be used for making paste,” Dr. Homenauth explained.
For 2017, the cultivation of corn and soyabean at the Ebini research station can be expected. At least 300 acres will be developed. Tumeric cultivation in Region One is also expected to expand from 20 acres to 40 acres.
Even as a more diversified and climate-resilient agricultural sector is expected in 2017, research will continue at NAREI to promote agricultural expansion further inland by introducing mega farms in hinterland regions.