…develop strategies to boost Guyana’s coconut industry – Agri Minister
Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).
The other members are Dr Dindyal Permaul; Anjanie Narine; Andrew Forsythe; Natasha Beerjit-Deonarine; Bibi Shadick; Jainarine Narine; Suresh Amichand; Pooran Seeraj; Ricky Roopchand; Christopher Vandeyar; Dr Garvin Cummings; Porandatt Narine; Raymond Ramsaroop and Dr Oudho Homenauth (ex officio).
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Tuesday encouraged the new Board to work together in order to lay the groundwork to take the agency to the next level.
Mustapha said the Board is expected to develop programmes aligned with Government’s policies, as were outlined in its 2020-2025 manifesto.
The Board was also tasked with developing guidelines to expand import substitution crops and other crops in the hinterland savannahs. Mustapha noted that in last year’s emergency budget, incentives were given in the soya bean and corn industry and that the Board should work to promote the cultivation of these two crops.
Further, he encouraged the Board to pay special attention to developing strategies to boost Guyana’s coconut industry.
“You know for a fact that our coconut industry is about to take off and we’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on its success and development. We’ve had budgetary allocation last year to develop two new coconut nurseries and this year we are proposing an additional seven nurseries for other areas around the country. We are optimistic that we’ll have those projects approved by the Ministry of Finance so that we can begin constructing these nurseries. The coconut industry, for me, is probably the third most important crop in our country and has the potential to be a very large foreign exchange earner for Guyana. We’ve also made great progress with joining the International Coconut Community (ICC),” Mustapha said.
The Board was also asked to pay close attention to the development and implementation of the mangrove development plan for 2021-2025.
Newly appointed Chairman of the Board, Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh, while offering remarks stated that the Board will work together to address the areas identified by Minister Mustapha.
“The Minister has given us a very comprehensive outline of his and Cabinet’s expectations of the Board and direction on what is considered priorities as it relates to NAREI’s mandate. I don’t expect us to only be sitting in a boardroom, but we’ll also be visiting other areas across the country. In this way, we’ll be able to see the results of NAREI’s research as well as interact with farmers. I really would like us to think from a national perspective – how is what we’re doing as a Board is not only supporting, tasking and monitoring what NAREI is doing but what it is that we can bring to the Board. I don’t expect persons to just be rubber stamps,” Singh said.
The Chairman further stated that there are a number of outstanding issues that the Board will be dealing with during their statutory meetings.