Sunday, August 7, 2011

Project Update from Guyana

Lettuce produced through shadehouse hydroponic production. The raised beds and covered structure provides protection from extreme weather and flooding, and the sand and paddy shell substrate is an easily-accessible growth medium.
In the past several days that I’ve been here in Guyana visiting Partners’ Farmer to Farmer Projects and meeting with program partners, I’ve heard so many stories from producers and seen so many unique sights that it’s hard to choose what to feature in this blog post. Since my last visit in April 2010, there have been many changes as a result of collaborative efforts between Partners of the Americas and other local and international groups including IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture), GTIS (Guyana Trade and Investment Support), the Guyana Chapter of Partners of the Americas’ shadehouse project, and more.

Among the successes that stand out in my mind after visiting a selection of project sites are the 28 (and growing) shadehouses that are now in operation, allowing people to grow lettuce, radishes, celery, pakchoy, and other vegetables with limited risk of crop failure and in spite of poor soil; the newly-revived Guyana Apiculture Society and its beekeepers who are showing great energy and determination to increase honey production and their outreach efforts with ongoing support from FTF; the impact that the FTF-produced training and success videos has had in spreading the word about low-cost agricultural technologies for hydroponic vegetable production and, of course, the personal stories of success told by the farmers themselves.

With several more field visits remaining, there is more for me to see. I hope to feature these stories on the blog in the future, and for now I will leave you with some photos.
Third generation beekeeper Ravi Rajkumar cuts honeycomb from one of his hives. His Africanized bees forage on mangroves and are largely resistent to pests and disease. He is already adopting recommendations to improve honey production and food safety from 2 FTF volunteers.

Beeswax bowl created in a training with FTF Volunteer Virginia Webb.

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