Amid soaring world market prices: Wheat cultivation about to be tested locally with 20 varieties
The Guyana Government will very soon be testing 20 varieties of wheat as the country attempts to cultivate this product amid soaring world market prices.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha explained that the first trial will begin before the end of May. He noted that the exercise is an effort to further diversify the country’s food sector.
Cultivation of the initial trial phase is expected to begin at the Burma Rice Research Station in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and the project will be led by scientist Dr Mahendra Persaud.
Mustapha related that the rice research station will be used as the testing location, since it has adequate land space. The climatic conditions have also to be taken into account.
“We are in contact with our counterpart in Mexico. We are looking at a different variety of wheat. I am hoping, by the end of this month or by next month latest, we can have the first trial with about 15 to 20 varieties, to see the best one that can be grown in Guyana,” Minister Mustapha has said.
The Ministry is also examining the possibility of establishing nurseries at strategic locations across the country to test for better-growing results. The plan is to have technical officers assess which of the varieties are better grown here.
Mustapha further noted that the approach to introduce the new food commodity to Guyana’s soil shows Government’s determination to ensure the nation becomes self-sufficient in food production.
“We are very determined that, as long as it is successful, we will be going to produce our own wheat, because we can’t depend too much on imports. As a country, we have to ensure we produce our own food and be self-sufficient…we can have all the money in the world, and we have seen during the pandemic how many countries are suffering to get food. We in Guyana are very fortunate that we produce most of the food,” he reasoned.
It was only recently that President Dr Irfaan Ali announced Government’s plan to explore the possibility of sourcing a variety of wheat for local production. The Head of State said the Government is unwavering in its quest to build a Guyana that is resilient, and meets not only its national responsibility, but plays an important role in its global responsibility.
The surges in wheat and other commodity prices are a result of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Either of those States accounts for a substantial percentage of the world’s traded wheat.