The National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has received its first batch of coconut tissue culture planting material from Mexico which will be used to further advance the Institute’s revitalization plan in 2018.
This was disclosed during a telephone interview with the institute’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Oudho Homenauth who confirmed the Institute receiving 450 samples as part of its first bath of tissue culture samples.
“The materials are being hardened at our Mon Repos facility and will be planted in our nursery later in the year. When mature, these plants will be used solely for observational and experimental purposes because we would need to carry out an extensive amount of research to see how these new species will manage in our climate and soil type.” Dr. Homenauth said.
As Guyana’s coconut industry gains further recognition in international and regional arenas, the Agriculture Ministry is continuing its works to collaborate with farmers across the country to further improve the industry. During the course of 2018, a minimum of 1000 acres of land is expected to be put under cultivation to meet the demand of this growing industry. This is in addition to the thousands of acres already under cultivation.
NARIE, recognizing the increased need for planting material, will be utilizing resources not only from its nursery at Mon Repos but from Hope Coconut Industries, Charity and other private coconut farmers in the Pomeroon. It is also in the process of rehabilitating its coconut nursery at the Stoll Estate in Pomeroon.
Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder in an invited comment said that his ministry is targeting developing the coconut sector into an industry where farmers can benefit year round.
“Coconuts take a while to develop but in the interim, farmers are encouraged to practice inter-cropping on their estates. Crops like cassava can be grown and harvested while coconuts trees are developing. We are also lobbying for persons to get involved in value-added commodities. Products like the virgin coconut oil, shredded coconut flakes, coconut flour and coconut shells for generating power are products that have the potential to significantly boost the industry.” Minister Holder said.
The processing factory at Marudi on the Linden Soesdyke Highway is expected to become operable before the end of March of this year. Initially the facility will be able to process 30,000 dried nuts per day. Once fully operable, the factory will be able to process 100,000 dried nuts per day.
With all these plans on stream, Guyana’s coconut industry is expected to have a major boost as the year progresses allowing farmers from across the coconut growing regions to significantly benefit.
The demand for coconut oil and its added by-products is high in demand regionally and internationally and as such, NAREI has been better positioning itself to respond to the needs of the industry.