200 shade houses to be procured to boost high-value crop production

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Guyana plans to build about 200 more shade houses in 2024, as it moves forward with the production of high-value crops as a result of increased demand and lucrativeness.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha made the disclosure Wednesday last, during the ministry’s estimates and considerations in the Parliamentary Committee of Supply.

“We have here in our budget approximately 200 [shade houses]…We will procure it and then we will work with various organisations, groups and schools,” Minister Mustapha said.

The minister highlighted that the ministry has received numerous requests for this initiative, especially from schools.

In 2023, 200 shade houses were constructed as part of the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP).

These shade houses continue to benefit young agri-entrepreneurs, while at the same time improving the production of high-value crops including broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, sweet pepper, cilantro, kale, chili pepper, and parsley.

A total of 90 new shade houses were completed in 2023, bringing the total to 365 since the initiative started in 2021.

As of December 2023, some $25.4 million was earned under the AIEP.

Additionally, 2023 saw the launching of the hydroponics project in collaboration with the private sector.

“We have the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme that will be extended to Regions Two, Five, and Ten, where a number of those shade houses will be going,” Minister Mustapha emphasised.

This intervention will support the growth of a range of crops, such as pak-choi and high-end herbs which will, among other things, satisfy the demands of the expanding tourism sector.

At the end of 2022, a total of 120 shade houses were constructed to support the production of high-value crops nationwide.