(www.biznow.gy) Guyana is pushing for the commercial production of corn and soya bean and is in the process of acquiring data which it hopes investors can use in this regard. The country imports around 40,000 tonnes of these two commodities per year and officials hope that new research can lead to higher production locally.
The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has been looking at countries with similar conditions to Guyana, and has been able to obtain varieties of corn with higher yields for local adaptation.
NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Oudho Homenauth in a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) explained that the institute has been working with a pioneer variety of corn obtained from Belize, which yields about five times more than local varieties costing less than $30 per pound for production. Current imports amount to $49 per pound.
The major thrust of NAREI’S efforts is to have sound data for engaging foreign investors in the production of corn and soya bean locally, Dr. Homenauth explained.
“What we have been doing in the last year or two is actually getting these things in, the different varieties, trying to see how they are adapting, work out the different cost of production so that when an investor comes, they do not have to go and do this over, the information is available and it is up to date,” he said.
He said the goal is to get investors to buy in to the required 8,000 acres of corn and 10,000 acres of soya bean that is needed to satisfy the local demands.
“We have a number of persons who have been making inquiries in terms of investment in Guyana and this is what we are promoting. We are not telling people to come and grow boulanger and bora, and those types of crops,” he said.
These two commodities are perhaps half of the food import bill of the Caribbean because all the countries import them for the livestock industry.
Guyana hopes to cut the importation of corn and soybean by half by the year 2020.