COVID-19: Guyana has enough food to last through pandemic – NAREI CEO
In Guyana, fruit and vegetable farmers have not been able to export their produce, but according to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Guyana has enough food to last through the COVID-19 pandemic.
He told the News Room that while it is vital to maintain trade and export, it is difficult during this time.
“One of the things is that we will not be able to export, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables, because of restrictions on transport; that is one thing that will have an effect on us here.
“The good thing is that we know that we are a food secure nation to a large extent, especially as it relates to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Dr Homenauth told the News Room.
Dr Homenauth also noted that the country has capable local producers and does not need to depend on imports but he said measures need to be in place to maintain and secure the country’s food supply.
He is also encouraging farmers and producers to continue and, if possible, increase their production.
“What may be needed is for them to look at doing marketing on their own in this interim period,” Dr Homenauth said.
He also said the agro-processing sector will continue to function and will need supplies. As such farmers and producers should continue producing.
Meanwhile, in an effort to get persons to practice social distancing and stay in their homes, Dr Homenauth is encouraging that persons start their own kitchen garden.
“…the main thing is that people should not be congregating and, for example, everybody goes to the market place, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables.
“It is possible for persons out there to do a little bit of gardening.”
He explained that persons can start a garden in their backyard. For persons who do not have a backyard space, Dr Homenauth said there is an alternative.
“If you don’t have a backyard you can use containers and have some little of gardening at home.”
Dr Homenauth mentioned that there is a now slight increase in demand for seedlings and persons can contact NAREI for help and support.
“Although we may be physically closed, if persons contact us we can make arrangements for them to acquire whatever their needs are,” he said.
Dr Homenauth also urged that persons properly wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming.