First wheat test a success, open field trial to begin soon

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The first trial to determine if wheat can be produced here has been completed and according to the Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, the results are “encouraging.”

The trial was done on a small scale at the Burma Rice Research Station in Region Five and was headed by local scientist, Dr Mahendra Persaud.

“This is a new crop for our country and we are looking at certain areas, so what the scientist told me, Dr Mahendra [Persaud] just told me he started some at the rice research station and the prospect look very good in the very small amount,” Minister Mustapha told reporters at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday.

Now, researchers will move to see if wheat can withstand Guyana’s climate in an open field.

“So what he will do, he will come out in open field to start that trial there and we are looking also at some certain areas,” Minister Mustapha said.

The open field trial is expected to be done at the Burma Rice Research Station and possibly in Paramakatoi, Region Eight.

Minister Mustapha said that due to Paramakatoi’s weather, it is possible that wheat can grow there.

“So I’m hoping that in a matter of two weeks’ time, two to three weeks’ time from now, we will have at least two locations that will do the trial.

“We have 49 lines and each line has the potential to become a variety to be successful,” Minister Mustapha said. The standard method of breeding wheat cultivars is by crossing two lines using hand emasculation, then inbreeding the offspring.

“For the trials, you don’t do large quantities, you do like about half-acre to ensure, but it has to be about two to three times to ensure it can withstand the climate in the country,” Minister Mustapha explained.

Minister Mustapha previously said the government was working with their counterpart in Mexico to determine the best quality of wheat that can be produced in Guyana.

A global shortage of wheat, stemming from the Ukraine/Russia crisis, has impacted many countries, including Guyana, prompting plans to grow wheat here.

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