Sweet potato production in Guyana will be enhanced thanks to collaborations between the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), Partners of America (Local Chapter), the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the University of Guyana.
A two-member team from UAPB comprising of Sweet Potato Specialist Dr James Garner, and Dean of School of Agriculture Dr Edmund Buckner, recently visited Guyana to initiate the project implementation. They met with Agriculture Minister Noel Holder and other key stakeholders, including Chief Executive Officer of NAREI Dr Oudho Homenauth.
Minister Holder expressed gratitude to the UAPB team for selecting Guyana to be part of this important activity and pledged the Ministry’s full support for the project, which will run for five years.
The project, which is being funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will focus on improving seed quality in order to boost production and yield.
Emphasis will be placed on the development of superior sweet potato lines as measured by horticultural quality, reduced virus infection and increased yield and soil pest resistance.
Additionally, two local scientists would be trained in the areas of micro-propagation and biotech procedures needed to establish a virus tested sweet potato foundation seed programme.
The successful implementation of this project will add to NAREI’s efforts in advancing sweet potato production.
NAREI is currently conducting sweet potato trials at Mon Repos and Parika.
The aim of the trials is to determine whether the use of sprinkler irrigation would increase yields.