Ongoing wheat trial in Region 8 bears fruit – Guyana newsroom

Guyana’s agricultural sector is set to continue growing and developing with successes in the ongoing field trial to determine if wheat can be produced here, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said.

A global shortage of wheat, resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has affected many countries, including Guyana, prompting plans to grow wheat locally.

The first try was carried out on a small scale at the Burma Rice Research Station in Region Five. This was followed by a field trial at Paramakatoi in Region Eight and plans to start additional production could be seen as early as October, Minister Mustapha told the newsroom on Friday.

“We are now talking with IICA [Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture]hoping that the Embrapa technician [Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation] will be back in Guyana and we can start the preparations. We are very optimistic, we will start soon.

“We have a little trial going on in Paramakatoi and they told me it’s going very well there,” the minister said.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha during the launch (Photo Ministry of Agriculture August 5, 2022)

Mustapha explained that IICA is coordinating the launch of the next trial. Several inspections were carried out for such production to begin with tests carried out in region five, region six, regions eight and region nine.

Guyana receives support from Embrapa and the government is working with the Mexican authorities to determine the best quality of wheat that can be produced in Guyana.

Previously, Minister Mustapha said that due to the weather in Paramakatoi, there is a possibility that wheat could grow there. He explained that there are 49 lines and each has the potential to become a variety. The standard method of breeding wheat cultivars is to cross two lines using hand emasculation and then reproduce the offspring.

In the meantime, the minister is also expecting a second visit from the quinoa production trial to start at Region Six. Minister Mustapha told the newsroom that the ministry, through the National Extensive Agricultural Research Institute (NAREI), will support the Guyanese Overseas Agribusiness led team, Felix Quinoa Farming Industry (FQFI).

“Remember I met the group that came, they went to Berbice and had done an inspection and agreed on a pilot program in Cumberland. I’m waiting for them to call me back so they can start the pilot project. I have alerted NAREI and NAREI will engage with them,” Minister Mustapha said.

In June, the FQFI team visited and exchanged with the local authorities. According to the minister, the team has land in Cumberland that it will use to carry out the program. According to NAREI, soil can support the project, Minister Mustapha said.

Elna M. Lemons