Boosting sugar production part of new plans with India – Jagdeo
With the government focused on revitalising the sugar industry, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says Guyana will be tapping into India’s technology and expertise to boost sugar production locally.
The Vice President, during a recent press conference, said that Guyana is keen on leveraging the South-Asian country’s agricultural prowess.
As such, he said talks between him and top Indian officials during his recent visit there included possible solutions on how Guyana can record higher levels of productivity. Guyana also sought assistance on evolving from peasant-type farming to more agri-business.
And sugarcane production is one area the Vice President seemed particularly keen on.
“In India, the variety of cane will give you probably two to three times the output compared to what we are getting from a single acre of cane here… similarly with the rice grain,” Dr. Jagdeo told reporters.
He also said that the country also uses tissue culture, which is the artificial cultivation of plants often in a laboratory, to grow large amounts of plants in a short period of time.
Compared to Guyana’s “anaemic” nurseries that are unable to supply large quantities of planting material at a fast rate, the Vice President said India’s methods could be very valuable to Guyana.
“We are going to be working with India to expand our tissue culture facilities in a major way.
“It would be a big boost to, say, our cane farming industry.
“We need planting material now of a high quality, we can get one million plants in a short period of time,” Dr. Jagdeo said.
These facilities can also be used to produce other types of crops or in aquaculture.
Beyond integrating these technologies in local agro-production, Dr. Jagdeo also highlighted that India uses a special type of fertilizer known as nano fertilisers, which require fewer inputs compared to the urea fertilisers used locally.
Earlier this year, after he visited India, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali said technical experts from India have expressed interest in helping to restructure the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to ensure that sugar production remains a profitable venture.
This year, the government has allocated $4 billion in the 2023 budget to support efforts to revitalise the sugar industry.
Previously, an additional $6 billion was set aside in the 2022 budget to support GuySuCo’s ongoing investment in field and factory operations to turn around the industry with the reopening of estates.