Extension officers to receive updated training from GSA as Agri. Ministry works to revamp extension services

– curriculum to be developed by mid-2022

The Ministry of Agriculture, in an effort to revamp the operations of the extension arm of its agencies, will, in 2022, introduce a curriculum designed to improve the effectiveness of its extension officers.

Through the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), extension officers attached to the ministry will receive training on how to properly carry out their functions to better cater to the needs of the nation’s farmers.

This was disclosed by Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha during a commissioning exercise at the New Guyana Marketing Corporation’s (New GCM) Central Packaging Facility at the Sophia Exhibition Center last Wednesday.

Minister Mustapha said, since taking office, the government has been working to improve the services being offered to the farmers and agro-processors across the country. He further stated that officials from the Ministry and the Guyana School of Agriculture have been advised to develop a curriculum offering additional training to the ministry’s extension officers.

“Our senior officers were already informed and very soon they will commence working on a curriculum to offer training to our extension officers. This programme should be ready before mid-next year. Extension officers will be able to receive training through the GSA to improve the services offered to our farmers and agro-processors. This is one of the steps we are taking to revamp the sector so that quality service can be delivered. Agriculture is once again at the forefront of our economy and we have to ensure that our extension personnel are well equipped and informed on how to deliver the caliber of services that were promised to citizens during our 2020 elections campaign trail,” Minister Mustapha said.

Since taking office, Minister Mustapha has been meeting with farmers across the country who aired concerns about the quality of services being offered by the extension arm of several agencies which form part of the ministry. After receiving similar complaints at a number of outreaches, Minister Mustapha disclosed that the entire extension arm of the ministry would soon be revamped. He also said that extension officers who were not willing to work to execute the mandate of the present government will be relieved of their services.

As it relates to the courses that will be offered to the extension officers, Minister Mustapha said that the curriculum will serve as both a refresher course and teach officers about updated methods of services as Guyana moves towards more technologically advanced approaches to doing agriculture. The courses are expected to include best practices for proper animal husbandry, artificial insemination techniques, shadehouse development, ‘six-point’ method for rice cultivation, post-harvest handling of perishable produce, and smart agriculture practices just to name a few.