Monday, June 11, 2012

Shadehouses Prove Successful in Guyana

Minister of Agriculture Ramsammy gives the keynote address.
The local chapter of Partners of the Americas in Guyana, in collaboration with the Farmer to Farmer Program, Caribbean Self Reliance International (Casri), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and others, is completing a highly successful shadehouse project funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). On June 5th, an Assembly was organized with close to 200 people attending, including the Minister of Agriculture Leslie Ramsammy and the First Lady Deolatchmie Ramotar to showcase the results. The project aimed to establish 20 hydroponic shadehouses in Guyana and it has reached 48, with several more in the final stages of development. The event also showcased locally grown produce from the Hydroponic Shadehouse Producers, who attended the event and received certificates. The Minister of Agriculture spoke about the importance of agriculture in Guyana, both at a household level as well as growing to be able to export. 
Produce being prepared for the Shadehouse Assembly

The idea of hydroponic vegetable production - growing plants without soil either in water or other inert medium - was slow to catch on in Guyana but producers soon saw the benefit of this system. As they achieved success, friends and neighbors became interested and the system spread. Partners of the Americas provided training, technical assistance and some materials but also focused on empowering producers so that they could continue training others. Market linkages are key and shadehouse producers are selling directly to customers but also to restaurants, hotels, and other outlets. This is the key to sustainability for this project.

One of the final hydroponic shadehouses constructed was at the State House at the request of the First Lady of Guyana. She is starting a campaign to have gardens in schools, as well as in households, and she wanted to show students the hydroponic system. She is quite interested in hydroponics personally and plans to attend one of the Partners of the Americas trainings on the topic. This news report shows the launch of her garden, which includes a hydroponic shadehouse but also traditional production systems and a fish pond.

This project and the assembly generated a great deal of local media as well. Below are a selection of articles about the project published in Guyana newspapers and on-line news outlets. This publicity not only shares the success stories but also generates interest in hydroponics. As Partners looks for additional funding to continue this activity, they expect the demand for training and assistance will continue to grow.

Hydroponic vegetable producers crucial to Guyana’s development, June 5:

Hydroponic shadehouse producers reaping success, June 6:

Hydroponic Shadehouse Producers in Guyana get boost, May 10:

US specialist to train Guyanese farmers in financial management, business planning, May 10:

There are also a number of articles published in the Stabroek News but a subscription is required to read the full article. An example is posted below. If you would like to read this and the other Stabroek News stories, please contact Peggy Carlson, for a login.

Ensuring the continuity of the Shadehouse Project, June 8:Editorial – Business Section:

1 comment:

  1. This is very inspiring news. Because of this project, many will be motivated to be more concerned in making the environment greener and healthier.