The head table at the training event (From left): Wilmot Garnet, the country representative for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Dr Gillian Smith, the country representative for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, Lorena Solazar, the Country representative for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Madanlall Ramraj, the Ministry’s Director General (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture/ may 9, 2023)
He said that many investments are being made into projects that will improve transportation and logistics as well as the country’s standards and traceability. Hence, Mustapha said there needs to be more robust and coordinated extension and advisory services system in place.
“This system should be equipped with the latest technologies and knowledge to ensure that farmers are aware of the best practices and methods to enhance the productivity and profitability,” he said.
The extension officers who work along with over 6,000 farmers, commenced the training at the Police Training Centre, Camp Street, Georgetown. According to Director General Madanlall Ramraj, the training is timely and will assist in enhancing the sector and provide a plan for the development and growth of the sector. He noted that the extension system has evolved and it is being reformed to achieve a more responsive approach.
This unit which comprises of officers from the Ministry’s agencies are geared to provide technical support, knowledge and guidance to farmers. Now the system will be under one management which is tasked with ensuring that resources such as vehicles and other utilities will be managed to benefit all who utilise this service.
In addition, the extension officers are advised to be more approachable. This allows farmers to be comfortable to not only reach out but also share ideas that can advance the sector.
There has been massive support by international organizations to advance the agriculture extension in Guyana. This project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Lorena Solazar, the country representative of the IDB said that extension services are a primary aspect for the process of technology dissemination and that improved extension units pave the way for low income farmers, women and communities to benefit from better production and farm yields.
She further assured that the extension officers will get the support of the IDB.