Guyana to get tissue culture facility by mid-2024

– will be able to produce 1 million plantlets annually

With the establishment of the tissue culture facility in Guyana by mid-2024, the country will be able to increase its plantlet production from 13,000 to one million annually, aimed at advancing the country’s sustainable food production agenda.

In 2023, an agreement to establish a tissue culture facility was signed by the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Agriculture and The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) of India.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, and other agriculture ministry officials during the press conference

This will see the establishment of a commercial-size tissue culture and micropropagation facility at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).

For context, a plantlet is a small or young plant that is produced on the leaf margins or the aerial stalks of another plant.

Micropropagation is a technique for propagating plants by using minuscule fragments of plant tissue extracted from a carefully selected and prepared mother plant, and growing them in a laboratory setting to create new plants.

During his ministry’s recent year-end media conference, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said the project is extremely good for Guyana, as it will support the increased demand for planting materials.

“Over the last three years, we have seen a serious demand for planting materials…What we are producing now is just around 13,000 to 15,000 plantlets. When this lab is completed later on like mid-point 2024, we will be able to produce one million plantlets for our farmers around the country,” Minister Mustapha underlined.

A Tissue Culture Facility

As a result, there will be increased production of plantain, pineapple, breadfruit, sweet potato, coconut, blueberries, and blackberries.

For the first time, we will do things like cassava, citrus, cut-flower, ginger, turmeric, strawberry, and raspberry…All those capabilities, the plant lab will have. We will produce plantlets with things that can resist pests and diseases that we are encountering,” Minister Mustapha explained.

Additionally, works are in progress to upgrade 11 nurseries across the country, which will result in an increase in seedling production from 200,000 to 500,000.

This will pave the way for increased availability and accessibility of new plant stock to address the demand and agriculture drive.