Guyana’s agricultural technology is advancing rapidly, and on Wednesday, the nation witnessed the first harvest of a wide range of crops at the Victoria Greens Hydroponic Farm.
Located at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, the groundbreaking hydroponic project is one of the most advanced farming structures in the Caribbean.
During an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Greenhouse Operator, Aneisha Azore explained that the primary goal is to supply the CARICOM region with healthy, high-quality food, mainly fresh vegetables.
“We will begin to harvest lettuce, pakchoi, basil, kale, rocket, and mustard…We will be harvesting 600 heads of pakchoi, and over 650 heads of lettuce. The basil, kale, rocket, and mustard, added together is over 1,000 clusters of those herbs,” Azore highlighted.
The fresh herbs and leafy vegetables being grown include lettuce (five types), mini cucumbers, celery, chives, parsley, dill, coriander, spinach, Swiss chard, and thyme, among others.
Although some of these herbs and vegetables are relatively new to Guyana’s soil, Azore told DPI there is a high demand for these commodities, noting that the farm also facilitates the processing and packaging of the produce. The crops will be available at the local markets and supermarkets.
Azore explained that the farm attracts high-end hotels because it cultivates foreign crops from seed to maturity, reducing the need for imports and ensuring competitive prices.
Currently, 25,000 of the nursery’s 100,000 crops are under cultivation, with the next harvest expected in about two weeks.
Back in December 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between the government and the Israeli Company, KARLICO Inc. for the development of the major project.
The government is using state-of-the-art technology to modernise the regional agricultural system, boost food production, and ensure food security, thereby lowering the high cost of food imports for the Caribbean.
Some of the benefits of hydroponics farming include soil-free, controlled environment, year-round cultivation, optimised nutrient delivery, space efficiency, reduced pest and disease pressure, faster harvest cycles, and water conservation.
Director of Operations, Antonio Suarez and other staff were also present at the harvesting exercise.