– HCIL seedling production capacity now 48,000 per annum
– Coconut and coconut byproducts export rakes in $2.5B
As part of the government’s efforts to decentralize the availability of quality planting materials for the coconut industry, in 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL), formally known as Hope Estate, was able to successfully establish four additional coconut seedling nurseries.
These nurseries were established in Wakenaam, Leguan, Canal Number Two, and Benab (Corentyne).
When the government took office back in August of 2020, it made known its goal to develop Guyana’s coconut industry by making planting material more available to farmers and other persons desirous of establishing coconut plantations across the country. In 2020, as part of the government’s emergency budget, two nurseries were also established at Charity on the Essequibo Coast and the other at Kairuni on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, with the capacity to produce 25,000 additional seedlings per year.
With the establishment of these four additional seedling nurseries, HCIL now has the capacity to produce approximately 48,000 quality coconut seedlings per annum.
While speaking on the sector’s performance over the past year, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha M.P. said that the additional facilities would enable HCIL to provide more quality seedlings to farmers, thus improving the industry’s production capabilities.
“Now that we have these additional nurseries established, we are in a better position to provide the kind of planting materials needed to improve Guyana’s coconut industry. This year Hope Estate was able to produce over 33,000 seedlings which represents a significant improvement when compared to last year when only 4,905 seedlings were produced. This shows that the investments being made by the government are resulting in the kinds of transformative outcomes we need to drive the sector forward,” Minister Mustapha said.
HCIL’s end-of-year report also indicated that some 115 new farmers began planting, with 1,845 acres of new coconut acreage being cultivated.
HCIL also collaborated with the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and was able to coordinate the establishment of additional farmers’ groups, thus making addressing farmers’ issues as well as the distribution of inputs more effective. To date, there are 50 established farmers groups in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, and Ten.
In 2021, Guyana exported over $2.5 billion worth of coconut and coconut byproducts. This represents a $600 million increase when compared to the $1.9 billion that was exported in 2020. Of that amount, virgin coconut oil exports stood at some $685 million while export earnings for dry coconut totaled some $1.8 billion. Apart from rice and sugar, coconut is Guyana’s third most exported agricultural commodity. With the global demand for coconut and coconut byproducts projected to increase significantly over the next five years, Guyana is expected to benefit from its fair share of the global market.