… Develop strategies to boost Guyana’s coconut industry – Minister of Agriculture

Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh

Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI).
The other members are Dr Dindyal Permaul; Anjanie Narine; Andrew Forsythe; Natasha Beerjit-Deonarine; Bibi Shadick; Jainarine Narine; Suresh Amichand; Seeraj Pooran; Ricky Roopchand; Christopher Vandeyar; Dr. Garvin Cummings; Porandatt Narine; Raymond Ramsaroop and Dr Oudho Homenauth (ex officio).
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Tuesday urged the new Board to work together to lay the foundation to take the agency to the next level.
Mustapha said the Board is expected to develop programs that are in line with Government policies, as outlined in its 2020-2025 manifesto.
The Board was also tasked with developing guidelines to expand imported substitute crops and other crops in the hinterland savannahs. Mustapha noted that in last year’s emergency budget, incentives were given in the soybean and corn industry and that the Board should work to promote the growth of these two crops.
Further, he urged the Board to pay special attention to developing strategies to boost Guyana’s coconut industry.
“You know for a fact that our coconut industry is about to start and we’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on its success and development. We have had a budget allocation last year to develop two new coconut nurseries and this year we are proposing seven additional nurseries for other areas across the country. We are optimistic that those projects will be approved by the Ministry of Finance so that we can start building these nurseries. The coconut industry, to me, is probably the third most important crop in our country and has the potential to be a very big foreign exchange winner for Guyana. We have also made great progress in joining the International Coconut Community (ICC), ”said Mustapha.
The Board was also asked to pay close attention to the development and implementation of the mangrove development plan for 2021-2025.
The newly appointed Chairman of the Board, Major-General (ret’d) Joe Singh, said in comment that the Board will work together to address the areas identified by Minister Mustapha.
“The Minister has given us a very comprehensive outline of his and the Cabinet’s expectations of the Board and a direction on what are considered priorities as it relates to the NAREI mandate. Not only do we expect to be sitting in a boardroom, but we will also be visiting other areas around the country. In this way, we will be able to see the results of NAREI research as well as interaction with farmers. I would like us to think from a national perspective – how what we do as a Board not only supports, tasks and monitors what NAREI does but what we can bring to it the Board. I don’t expect people to just be rubber stamps, ”says Singh.
The Chair further stated that there are a number of outstanding issues that the Board will deal with during their statutory meetings.

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