Five different varieties of Irish potatoes will be cultivated on trial at Santa Fe Mega Farm, Region Nine through a partnership between the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the WUSC Caribbean (Guyana) Inc. implemented and Government of Canada funded PROPEL (Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages) PROJECT.
This collaboration will see two-acres of potatoes being cultivated with approximately 34,000 seeds on trial basis. The varieties being evaluated are: Spunta, Kennebec, Chieftain, Bristol Pride and Shepody. Conditions such as climate, soil type and irrigation infrastructure that are conducive for potato production are present at Santa Fe.
Planting of the seeds commenced this week. The trial duration is 90 days from planting. Once successful, this project is expected to be rolled out in neighbouring communities, says, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Chief Execute Officer of NAREI.
According to Dr. Homenauth, NAREI will be providing technical support to Santa Fe Mega Farm. NAREI’s Extension Officers operating in the North Rupununi and Upper Mahaica River recently benefited from separate practical training exercises focused on good agricultural practices involved in potato production. Meanwhile, in Little Biaboo, Upper Mahaica River, a quarter- plot trial will be conducted. Planting of seeds has commenced today. Last week, 16 farmers and 10 staff of NAREI were exposed to training.
The objectives of the trials are: to identify agro-ecological areas on the coast of Guyana that are suitable for the production of potatoes; evaluate the adaptation & performance of the five varieties of potatoes; determine the growers’ perception of the various varieties grown; and examine consumers’ perception taste and preference.
WUSC Caribbean (Guyana) Inc. with Canadian Government funding, purchased and provided the seeds for the trial; fertilizers were donated by BLT Enterprise and the cost of land preparation and crop husbandry was and will be done by the producers/ farmers.