Thursday, January 6, 2011

Integrated Farming in Guyana

A team of 3 volunteer specialists - Louis Landesman, Tamra Fakhoorian, and Vance Haugen - recently completed an assignment focusing on Integrated Farming Systems in Guyana, in collaboration with IPED- Guyana and FAVACA. Excerpts from Dr. Landesman's trip report, below, give and introduction to the ways that aquatic plant production, animal farming, and biogas activities can compliment one another in a productive partnership both for rural farmers in Guyana and farmers in the United States. You can also listen to this new radio interview on Sustainable Living, through blogtalkradio, to hear the volunteers present information on this topic. All three volunteers participate around minute 25.

Duckweed covering pond
 The purpose of my visit was to assess operations of integrated farming systems (IFS) with a view to recommending improved techniques for growing duckweed in integrated farming systems producing food and energy. This effort was supported with the help of two other team members: algae and integrated agriculture specialist Tamara Fakhoorian and biogas specialist, Vance Haugen. Our group visited approximately 30 farms near Georgetown, Linden, East and West Berbice and Santa Rosa in the Maruca area of Guyana.

An integrated farm is a combination of several farming activities that take place on small farms and rural households. Most rural households in Guyana keep chickens, a popular source of protein in other Caribbean nations as well as Guyana. Many households also have ducks. Both forms of poultry are fed with rice bran and other cheap ingredients such as kitchen scraps and broken rice. Some households also raise pigs as well using rice bran, broken rice, copra and surplus fruits and vegetables. Finally a few households had small fish ponds stocked with tilapia.

Manure from these farm animals is collected, mixed with water and added to an enclosed 10 to 20ft long plastic bag in which anaerobic digestion takes place. This biodigester provides methane gas for cooking. The remaining effluent from this biodigester can be used to fertilize vegetable gardens and duckweed ponds.

A key component of the integrated farm model is the duckweed pond. Duckweed, a floating vascular plant of the Lemnaceae family, grows very quickly and provides an easily digested protein supplement for poultry, livestock and fish. Duckweed can replace up to one third of the feed requirements of poultry and this would mean a significant savings for the householder.

Please contact Meghan Olivier,, or Louis Landesman if you would like a complete copy of the report.


  1. The US should follow suit and use all the compostable materials created on our farming operations to create biofuel, plant and animal food. Tamra, your work is important and relevant to our ever polluted Earth!
    Thank you for being interviewed on my FireWalker Flare Blog Talk Radio Show and sharing your information with my listeners.

  2. Hey!, nice job done for all, it's amazing the network of Partners of America. If you are agree I would like to have a link of your blog in mine. I think this is a good contribution to develop agriculture.
    I´ll be attentive for your reply.