‘Shade houses’ a viable agricultural option for flood prone villages


− Adels Resort leading the way

Sustainable farming using the ‘shade house’ technique is gaining popularity, and youths participating in the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme are encouraged to invest in this type of farming. This was evident during a recent visit to indigenous villages in the Lower Pomeroon River, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).

Manager of Adels Resort Jessica Hadfield, said that the tourist getaway located at the mouth of the Akawini Creek, is playing an integral role in educating youth about this type of farming since, historically, hundreds of acres of farm lands in the riverine communities are affected during the spring tide season.

Thousands of dollars’ worth in produce is destroyed during this time by flood waters and its after effects.

With this in mind, coupled with the effectiveness of this type of farming, Hadfield has set the pace and has erected a three-section 20’x20’ shade house equipped with large boxes filled with soil.

According to her, the soil was collected from Akawini, Wakapoa and Kabakaburi and plants are thriving in the various soil types under those conditions. Tomatoes, peppers, white radish, eggplant, eschelotte, basil, squash and bora are thriving.

She explained that because of the unavoidable climatic conditions ‘shade house’ farming will prove to be very effective in that Region.

She said “it’s a great place to work and not like standing in a field because here I got all my planting trays, they can either do it themselves or buy planting cups (the normal sanitary cups) like I did for the shade house so there is no excuse for not planting because this is the enabler, you are not gonna flood because what you have here is perfect optimum conditions all year round.”

A variety of plants farmed within the shade house
A variety of plants farmed within the shade house

Hadfield added that she sees great prospects in Wakapoa and is keen on setting up a shade house in that village since the prospects are great. She said based on the village’s population of approximately 3000 and on statistics, more than 70 per cent of the population has to travel to Charity to purchase fresh vegetables.

“Nobody grows, so the fact is you can have every one of those students cluster together four in each group and build a rain shade house. Scattered around the place they can supply that lot… and so on and everything I use they can find them in their communities; I use no fancy things, there is no reason they cannot get together and make a profitable business by either selling the seedlings, fruits or vegetables,” she pointed out.

Hadfield stated that work can be done under any circumstance. To this end, she has offered her expertise to the Indigenous People’s Ministry through the HEYS programme, pro bono (free of charge) and is hopeful that the youths and village councils can buy into this proven method of farming.

Asked whether she considers herself a ‘shade house’ expert, with a loud laugh Hadfield in her deep British accent said, “definitely… because this to me is the solution, because they are going to make some money, they can build together a place where they can work.”

As a result of her contribution to the initiative, a carpenter from Wakapoa, who was hired by Hadfield to construct her ‘shade house’ and who was also motivated to construct one of his own, has pledged to give his time and energy towards building ‘shade houses’ for any village associated with the HEYS programme.

Villages are being challenged to pursue this opportunity.
Minister within the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry Valerie Garrido-Lowe, in commending the interest shown by Hadfield, remarked: “This is what HEYS is all about; it cannot stand by itself and that is why when HEYS was being conceptualised we sought to get the community buy-in, the buy-in of the Councillors… so Adel’s (Jessica) here is in the right place at the right time and she has an enthusiasm for the programme, I have to say.”

According to Garrido-Lowe, Hadfield’s interests lie beyond agriculture development since she has also shown keen interest in the development of youths in the area of Eco-Tourism.

The Minister is encouraging other interested persons and businesses that are located in villages participating in the HEYS Programme, to support the youth so they can realise their dreams. (Guyana Times)


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