New greenhouse at GSA to help train farmers, promote opportunities for women


Strengthening the country’s ability to produce food is taking centre stage as the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) received a climate-smart greenhouse and aquaponics system from Global Affairs Canada.

The GSA partnered with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and developed a new “centre of excellence” which will now use the greenhouse to train farmers and promote opportunities for women in the sector.

Through the Enabling Gender Responsive Disaster Recovery Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) project, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Canadian Government, the World Food Programme and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the facility was constructed.

On Wednesday during a handing over ceremony at the Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara location, Gerardo Noto, the UNDP Regional Director said the project promotes gender equality by empowering women with skills for the future of agriculture.

The pond where the Jamaican tilapia fish are kept. (Photo: DPI/ March 13, 2024)

“The project made a significant contribution to climate change through innovative capacity building and the introduction of sustainable agricultural practices incorporating gender equality and human rights-based approaches to disaster risk reduction and climate response,” Noto said.

Extreme weather events, such as droughts that negatively impacted the country’s food production last year, highlight the need for innovative and efficient climate-resilient practices.

Canada’s Ambassador to Guyana, Mark Berman said the Government of Canada is committed to aid with strengthening food security in the Caribbean. Canada funds the EnGenDER project which is established in nine Caribbean countries.

According to the Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, to ensure access to similar initiatives is available countrywide, the greenhouse will be replicated in other regions.

The plants being grown at the greenhouse. (Photo: DPI/ March 13, 2024)

“We are not only doing things in Mon Repos… We want to take things outside of Regions Four, that is why we will be building three other hydroponics farms in Regions Two, Five and Ten,” the minister said.

Mustapha said this project symbolises the country’s efforts to ensure it is prepared for disasters and equipped to maintain the country’s ambitious food security goal.

In doing so, the greenhouse uses Jamaican tilapia to sustain energy conservation and produce an environment where plants can also grow. The fish waste is filtered into the hydroponic system which is further filtered into the pond and the cycle recurs.

It is one system where plants and aquatic creatures can thrive.

IICA country representative, Wilmott Garnet said the initiative was created as a response to producing nutritious foods that are clear of any non-organic products.

This project also aligns with the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), the Paris Agreement for climate change mitigation, and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 agenda.

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