Guyana to join International Coconut Community
Guyana will soon join the membership of the International Coconut Community (ICC) as the Ministry of Agriculture advances plans to increase cultivation countrywide.
Subject Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha made this disclosure during an outreach to a coconut farm in Laluni on Monday. The Minister said representatives will not only be looking at the industry from the government’s perspective, but identify ways of providing the necessary support to farmers.
“Over the years, we have seen our coconut industry neglected, now we are trying to get it back on track. In the next two to three years, I intend to take coconut nurseries across the country so that farmers can have that kind of facility where they can have these coconut plants, they can have this guidance from the extension officers,” he said.
The Minister explained that while provisions had been made in the recent Emergency Budget for the establishment of coconut nurseries at Kiruni and Charity, this would eventually include other areas.
Both the Hope Coconut Estate and the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will be taking steps to support the industry. The Minister also encouraged farmers to incorporate intercropping in their farming practices.
Meanwhile, he commended Pandit Haresh Tewari on his farm in Laluni, noting that it provides employment for the residents.
“Coconut has the potential to bring in a lot of foreign exchange and at the same time, use coconut … to do a lot of other things,” he explained.
Pandit Tewari said he cultivates coconuts primarily for water. However, if they pass the due date for harvesting, coconut can be used for copra or oil production.
He also revealed plans to cultivate one million trees. “We are actively pursuing good planting materials. Locally, we have a wonderful coconut – the Malaysian dwarf, that’s a well-accepted water nut. Our objective is basically for the export market. There is a tremendous scope for our product,” he said.
Added to that, Pandit Tewari has researched the coconut market and has found that “there is tremendous amount of potential for this product. I don’t believe if we have 100,000 acres of coconut production in this country, that we will have enough to supply the world market.”
The coconut farmer is not looking at coconut production, but he has started intercropping with corn, pumpkin and other crops.
Coconut is the third major crop cultivated in Guyana after rice and sugar cane.
The ICC is an intergovernmental organisation of coconut producing nations, which was organised in 1969 under the aegis of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The ICC Secretariat is located in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Department of Public Information)