Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha announced that specialists from Costa Rica are set to visit Guyana to support the resuscitation of coffee and cocoa cultivation in Guyana.
The Ministry of Agriculture, with the long term goal of reducing the Region’s large food import bill by 25% by 2025, has aimed to promote diversification of crops cultivated all across Guyana.
In August this year, the Agriculture Minister had signalled the Government’s intention to revive coffee cultivation in Pomeroon, with the goal of supplying the local coffee market within three years.
In a recent engagement with Pomeroon farmers, Minister Zulfikar Mustapha announced that this process will begin as soon as October.
“Pomeroon will once again play the role it used to play as being one of the most important agriculture area in our country. In another months’ time from now I’ll be having some specialists come in from Costa Rica to come to the Pomeroon to look to start back the coffee and cocoa cultivation.”
A major concern for Region Two was a lack of proper drainage and irrigation affecting crop cultivation.
However, the Minister notes this is being addressed.
“We are looking to continue to do the block drainage so that we can reduce flooding. We have started the dredging of the Pomeroon River, over half a billion, five hundred and ninety-seven million dollars will be expended there to get the Pomeroon River to get proper drainage.”
Some research suggests that cocoa originated in the Amazon and specifically in the Orinoco basin. It is grouped into 10 germplasm clusters, one of which includes Guyana.
As for the history of coffee in the Pomeroon, it was first introduced in 1721 by the Dutch and British Guiana was at one point one of the largest exporters in the world.
In 2008, the last year surveys were done, the production of coffee cherries in the Pomeroon stood at 590 metric tonnes.
“All in all, what we are doing, we are trying as much as possible to improve the agri sector, improve all the sectors.
“On the Essequibo Coast we have some large projects going on and this came about because of our concern to develop the agriculture sector.”
Notably, the Santa Rosa ground coffee project was resuscitated earlier this year when fifteen farmers were allocated 800 Robusa coffee beans for cultivation, supervised by Jamaican Agricultural scientist, Dr. Leroy Santiago.