$1.1M coconut nursery launched at Kairuni

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Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha on Tuesday commissioned a $1.1M new coconut nursery at Kairuni on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

This is the first of two nurseries that will be commissioned before the end of 2020. The facilities are said to have the capacity to produce 25,000 additional seedlings per year.

The nursery at Kairuni is in keeping with government’s plans to promote and boost coconut production in Guyana. While offering remarks at the commissioning, Minister Mustapha said the Ministry is working to ensure proper coconut planting material is easily accessible to farmers across the country.

“At the Ministry of Agriculture, we are on the verge of developing the coconut industry. We’ve been invited to be a member of the International Coconut Community. We are working to have those arrangements finalised so that we can benefit from that platform in the coming year.

“Coconut has potential to contribute heavily to the development of our economy. That is why the government is putting the efforts, energy and resources into developing the industry. Over the next five years, we plan to decentralise the access to proper coconut planting materials. Today’s activity marks the first step in our decentralisation efforts.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

“Farmers on the East Bank and Region 10 will no longer have to travel to the East Coast to purchase coconut plants. We will also be commissioning another nursery at Charity very soon. Next year, I plan to establish a nursery in Berbice and over time, move to other parts of the country like in the interior,” Minister Mustapha said.

The subject minister also encouraged farmers to get involved in cultivating other varieties of coconuts available in Guyana.

“Based on the current demand, this nursery only carries the 18 months coconut variety at the moment, which is grown for the water.

General Manager of the Hope Coconut Industries Limited, Ricky Roopchand said the launch of the nursery marked an important day for Guyana’s coconut industry and the farmers of Regions Four and Ten.

“The establishment of this new coconut nursery, which is a new initiative under the Ministry of Agriculture’s programme at Kairuni, is indeed a step in the right direction. I’m sure you can all agree that it augers well for the continued development and expansion of our country’s coconut industry.

General Manager of the Hope Coconut Industries Limited, Ricky Roopchand

“We realised that one of the major constraints of the coconut industry was the lack of access to an adequate supply of good planting material. This nursery will be significant in addressing this issue. Farmers in Linden, the East Bank of Demerara and those along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway will now have easy access to adequate amounts of high-quality coconut seedlings at an affordable cost.

“The time taken and the long distances to travel to Hope Estate to purchase coconut seedlings, which many of you can agree is expensive, is now a thing of the past,” Mr Roopchand said.

A section of the beds at the coconut nursery at Kairuni (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture)

Coconut runs third in Guyana’s agriculture sector, after rice and sugar, and first in the country’s non-traditional sector in terms of earnings. It is also the third-largest industry in Guyana, currently occupying about 25,000 acres.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute, Dr. Oudho Homenauth encouraged farmers to explore inter-cropping while they wait on their trees to bear. (Modified press release from Ministry of Agriculture)

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