$63M fertiliser testing lab opens

In an effort to improve the quality of crops being produced locally, the Government has opened a new, state-of-the-art fertiliser testing facility in the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute’s Compound at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.
This new lab, which costs some $63 million, was on Wednesday commissioned by the Agriculture Ministry’s Pesticide and Toxic Chemicals Control Board. Commissioning of this new fertiliser testing facility comes a few months after farmers had made several complaints about the poor quality of fertilisers they had received from the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).
They had raised the concerns in October 2020 when Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha visited some farmers at Buxton on the East Coast of Demerara. During that meeting, Mustapha had committed to having the issue rectified. Now, some three months later, the fertiliser Testing Laboratory is now opened with the aim of having better quality control of the fertilisers being distributed to farmers.
“I am happy because of this milestone and achievement that demonstrates our Government’s commitment not only to agriculture, but to our farmers as well. Since taken office, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of farming communities, and I can clearly tell you (that) on many of those visits, farmers have echoed their concerns about the quality of fertiliser imported and distributed in Guyana,” Mustapha told the gathering.
Moreover, the Agriculture Minister said his intention is to have the officers go out into the fields more often and listen to farmers’ concerns.
“This project here today tells us that this is direct response to the needs of our farmers, the problems they are being faced with over the last few years; and today we are addressing one of those concerns, and that is a major concern for the farmers around the country,” he added.
Mustapha is encouraging stakeholders to work along with the Agriculture Ministry and the Pesticide and Toxic Chemicals Board to guarantee the authenticity of the products being used in the local agriculture sector.
“Over the years, historically, Guyana has been the focal point for agriculture in the Caribbean. Over the last five years, we have ceded that position to St. Vincent, and rest assured that, as Minister of Agriculture, I am optimistic that we will take back that position shortly, as the chief spokesperson for agriculture in the Caribbean,” he pointed out.
This new facility is one of two laboratories in the entire Caribbean that has the capacity for this advanced level of fertiliser testing. (G9)