Open-field wheat trials expand to Reg. 9 as tests continue
Guyana has recorded successes in the open-field trial to determine if wheat can be produced here and according to the subject Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, the trials are now expanding to Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo).
Speaking at the sidelines of an event earlier this week, Minister Mustapha said that the open field trial was successful at Paramakatoi in Region Eight and now, the trial is being taken to the Santa Fe Farm in Region Nine.
The Santa Fe Farm is owned by Barbadian investor, Sir Kyffin Simpson, who has supported the government’s farming initiatives which include corn, soya and now wheat.
“We [are] working jointly with them to do the cultivation there in terms of open-field. We’ve already done indoor trials at the Rice Research Centre and those were successful.
“The one at Paramakatoi has been very successful also so we are looking at Region Nine in Santa Fe to do another trial there. Hopefully, that will be successful,” Minister Mustapha said.
Guyana’s weather in different areas is suitable to sustain this production. It is necessary that Guyana produces wheat as part of the national food agenda in an effort to minimise the food import bill which is almost US$6 billion. It will also assist the region as the Russia/Ukraine war persists causing disruptions to the supply chain.
The first wheat test trial was conducted on a small scale at the Burma Rice Research Station in Region Five and was headed by local scientist Dr Mahendra Persaud. It was followed by the open-field trial and according to the Minister, there will be multiple trials to ensure wheat production will be achievable.
“Not only one time when you have success then you start to plant wheat, you have to do it a number of times and see how it grows and the conditions.
“Our Chief Scientists are working with other stakeholders. We have been having the corporation from IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture) and Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). I am hoping as long as these trials are successful continuously then we can have it as a variety crop to grow in Guyana,” Minister Mustapha said.
Guyana is receiving support from Embrapa and the government is working with authorities in Mexico to determine the best quality of wheat that can be produced in Guyana.