Guyana to host Caribbean Centre for Agriculture, data centre for farmers

Last Updated on Friday, 20 October 2023, 12:50 by Denis Chabrol

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) will be assisting in the conversion of the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) into a Centre for Excellence in Agriculture and the establishment of a technology-driven data centre for farmers in the region, President Irfaan Ali announced on Friday.

“IICA and the government of Guyana have agreed that we will develop a centre of excellence for our young people in the field of agriculture here in Guyana for across the region,” he said. He explained that GSA at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara would be transformed into the IICA-Guyana Centre of Excellence for studies in the field of agriculture with a focus on innovation and resilience.

Caribbean nationals have over the years been pursuing agriculture studies at GSA.

In clear preparation for the establishment of the centre, the President said a number of Guyanese and other Caribbean youths would be travelling to IICA’s  headquarters in Costa Rica to be trained in innovation at that organisation’s Centre of Excellence to come to Guyana

He made the announcements at the opening of the 3rd Caribbean Agri Investment Forum and Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.

The President, who is responsible for agriculture in the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) quasi-cabinet, said IICA would also be establishing a system to provide real-time data to farmers across the region. “We will be setting up here in Guyana a situation room that will give real-time data. It will be the development of a CARICOM situation room that will give real-time data to our farmers to allow evidence-based decision-making and more proactive planning in terms of our crop development and growing,” he said.

Here in Guyana, he said the focus would on continuing to encourage youth and women in smart, technology-driven agriculture. In that regard, he announced that agriculture innovation centres would be launched in Region 5 (Mahaica-West Berbice), Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) and Region  2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam) over the next three days. Those centres, he said, would be funded to the amount of US$4.5 million from ExxonMobil’s Greater Guyana Initiative. “This innovation centre will be run and owned young people of which we want 35 percent to be women,” he added.

The President said that also on the cards is the establishment of a hatching eggs facility in Guyana.