GSA receives first-of-its-kind greenhouse to spur climate-smart agriculture

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) has received a first-of-its-kind greenhouse, which houses hydroponics and aquaculture facilities, from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to empower women and youth through climate-smart agriculture technologies.

The handing-over ceremony was held at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, on Wednesday.

The greenhouse will help impart knowledge of climate-resilient agriculture production as a sustainable safeguard for food security and the creation of employment for the beneficiaries.

This regional initiative is made possible by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) visionary project, Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate, and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and other partners.

The EnGenDER project fully conforms to the national priorities as stated in Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), the Paris Agreement, and the UN’s framework convention on climate change. The project is central to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encompassing environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, highlighted the importance of the initiative in advancing Guyana’s strategic vision to attain regional food security while empowering women and youth.

He charged the beneficiaries to make full use of the greenhouse facility.

“We will have almost 5,000 plantlets being grown here simultaneously while rearing fish. That is the training that we are looking at. I also asked NAREI and the GRDB to bring farmers here so we could train them…So that they could learn the best practices that we want them to do…When we talk about precision agriculture, this is the way to go.”

Mustapha further alluded to several agricultural projects implemented by Guyana to empower women and youth including the Black Belly Sheep, Cut Rose, and hydroponics projects.

Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman

Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman underscored Canada’s continued commitment to supporting efficiency and climate resilience in the agriculture sector to strengthen food security and significantly reduce the agriculture and environmental footprint.

Berman said harnessing climate-smart agriculture practices is extremely necessary for a sustainable future and global food security.

“In line with our climate finance commitment for climate-smart agriculture and food systems, Canada continues to deliver programmes that focus on smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, to help improve their economic resilience in their livelihoods through sustainable practices while facilitating access to resources.”

Since 2020, Canada through EnGenDER has been providing considerable support to nine Caribbean countries, including Guyana.

The project has worked to address the impact of climate change on agriculture, fisheries, health, tourism, water availability, energy, women, girls, and other vulnerable groups.

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Representative in Guyana, Wilmot Garnett explained, “We are training the students because agriculture is a business…This is the place for us to make sure that we do it. The second component is that we are using precision agriculture. The project we are building has special metres. We will be testing the water and plants regularly so that the students can understand the importance of precision and agriculture”.

GSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Gavin Ramnarain, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Development Programme, Global Affairs Canada, Sharon Peake, United Nations (UN) Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Guyana, Dr Gillian Smith, and other officials were present at the ceremony.