Indian experts in Guyana to explore prospects of coconut processing

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Coconuts

An Indian delegation comprising senior agricultural experts is currently in Guyana to study and advise on the prospects of coconut processing and the variety of products which can be produced.

The Indian High Commission in Guyana announced that Anitha Karun and Dr VP Krishnakumar met with High Commissioner, Dr Amit Telang, where they exchanged views on coconut processing.

“The visiting experts shared some products which have been developed by various ICAR laboratories and research centres, underlining the vast potential of the coconut processing sector,” said the High Commission.

It was added that utilising coconuts to create value-added products will enable employment generation, self-sufficiency and export potential for the Guyanese economy.

The Guyana Government is already looking to attract investors to enhance agricultural production in the Pomeroon region. The focus is on long-term, high-value products – one of which is coconuts.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has encouraged that given the benefits of and the growing demand for coconuts and coconut by-products, farmers in Guyana should get involved in coconut production. He assured that the Government is working to make the necessary resources available to expand the industry.

“The world is also cognisant of the benefits of coconuts and all of their many uses. Anyone who is involved in this industry will benefit from several streams of income because of its many by-products. You can use coconut fibres, you can make oils, soaps, lotions, beauty supplies, pharmaceuticals, and cooking products just to name a few. The coconut water industry alone is estimated at $2.2 billion. We have to take advantage of the global demand. We have the land and we are making the materials and inputs available. We can tap into those markets,” the Minister was quoted during the opening of a coconut seedling nursery in Hosororo Village last year.”

Guyana is among three of the major coconut-producing countries in the Region; producing some 20 per cent of the Region’s demand while the Dominican Republic produces some 59 per cent, and Jamaica some 12 per cent.

It was reported this month that Guyanese farmers are set to benefit from specialised technical assistance under a $5.3 million Caribbean Agricultural Productivity Improvement Activity (CAPA) project being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Through consultations with agencies like the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the local private sector, and farmers, they were able to identify coconut as one of the three commodities for support.