Aug 05, 2017 News
Despite the damaging effects of heavy rainfall during the second quarter of 2017, the “other crops” industry still grew by 2.5 percent for the first half of the year. This is a creditable achievement when compared to the 2.0 percent growth rate for the same period in 2016.
According to the Finance Ministry’s mid-year report, the Government, through the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), continued its diversification programme as well as the promotion of the development of agriculture in the hinterland region.
The Finance Ministry noted that NAREI has continued to play a major role in both initiatives. In the first half of 2017, the Ministry said that projects in Region One included the planting of 600 black pepper cuttings on demonstration farms and the establishment of a turmeric factory at Hosororo.
Further, NAREI facilitated the importation of 20,000 hybrid coconuts from Mexico which are expected to yield more coconut water per tree.
In addition, the Finance Ministry said that five acres of coconut nurseries were established at Hope, Mon Repos, Wakenaam, and Pomeroon to provide a steady supply of seedlings to farmers, in anticipation of coconut becoming a major export commodity and value added product.
With regard to plantain productivity, the Finance Ministry said that this has also improved from an average of 11 kilogrammes per bunch to 18 kilogrammes due to NAREI’s research on the black sigatoka disease, which saw farmers being trained in good agronomic practices to manage the disease.
The Ministry in its report said that this initiative saw plantain production in the first half of 2017 increasing by 32 percent, compared to the same period in 2016.
In addition, it was noted that NAREI began the promotion of Irish potato cultivation and onions during the first half of 2017. The Finance Ministry said that all of these activities will continue in the second half of 2017, as Government continues its diversification programme.
In relation to the livestock industry, the Finance Ministry said that this contracted, by 10.9 percent, in the first half of 2017, due to heavy rainfall severely affecting production, especially in the second quarter.
During the second half of the year, the Finance Ministry said that cattle breeding will continue through the artificial insemination programme in order to improve production traits.
It said, too, that the Genetic Improvement Unit will maintain its support to farmers in all five coastal regions. Further, the Ministry said that emphasis will be placed on increasing the production of ducks through the improvement of laying, incubation, and fertility rates.
As for the fisheries industry, the Finance Ministry said that this expanded significantly by 33.2 percent, in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.
The Ministry said that this growth was mainly driven by a rise in the production of seabob and shrimp along with greater catches for fish species, such as red snapper. It said that these resulted from improved harvesting practices and increased demand for certain fish species.
Together, the Finance Ministry said that these led to higher production in the first half of 2017 and growth is anticipated to remain positive and on target.
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