Works are progressing on the approximately $100 million prawn production project which is set to commence shortly at Onverwagt, Region Five, as the government works to expand the aquaculture industry.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday inspected the works being executed at the location. While there, he reported that 10 ponds are being constructed.
“By Monday, the lining of the ponds will start. After that, we should have water with the larvae in it. I think we will have three crops per year which will do well. These are prawns that attract a good price. The production here for the year might be about 50 tonnes of prawns,” Minister Mustapha emphasised.
The agriculture minister remains optimistic that the project will be replicated across the country since similar initiatives are already being carried out in both traditional and non-traditional areas.
Minister Mustapha highlighted that there are markets available for prawns, locally, regionally, and internationally.
Given the high demand for prawns in the Caribbean and North America, countries like Ecuador, and Vietnam are exporting a lot of this product, the Minister noted.
Notably, the agriculture minister said the initiative may take a similar approach to the corn and soya bean project which sees the government opening up thosuands of acres of new land to enable greater cultivation.
These initiatives demonstrate the government’s intention to boost the agriculture sector, while simultaneously lowering the cost of imported food to help achieve the 25 by 2025 objective.
It also forms part of President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s vision of Guyana attaining self sufficiency in all areas of food production and becoming a major food producer for regional and global markets.
In furtherance of this goal, Minister Mustapher divulged that Guyana and Barbados have been actively collaborating on the prawn production project, and local technical officers have already visited the island as discussuions continue.
“They are calling it the ‘brown pond’ in Barbados. They are doing the brackish water shrimp, where they are bringing in salt water to mix it with the freshwater,” Minister Mustapha explained.
Locally, the production of brackish water shrimp is being conducted along the Corentyne Coast, and has continued to yield massive results since its inception.
“Now, we are developing the farm. We have done a number of works for them and we have seen the massive production. I am hoping that, by the end of that project, we might take production from the 10,000 kilogrammes that we started with to about 150,000 kilogrammes,” he underlined.
He also stated that farmers in other parts of the country have signalled their interest in the project.
“In another year from now, we will have our hatchery where we will produce our larvae. We will have our feed mill and all those things,” Minister Mustapha added.