In the coming weeks, Guyana will commence the trial stage of 15 varieties of wheat to determine the best quality that can be produced there.
Local scientist Dr Mahendra Persaud will be leading the project, according to Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha.
“We are in contact with our counterpart, especially in Mexico, we are looking at a different variety of wheat, I am hoping by the end of this month or by next month latest, we should have the first trial of 10/15 varieties of wheat to see the best one that can be grown in Guyana,” Minister Mustapha told reporters on Wednesday at the sidelines of an event.
He noted that researchers at the Burma Rice Research Station are identifying areas across the country to grow wheat but posited that it can possibly be grown in Paramakatoi, Region Eight.
“There are possibilities in different parts of the country where we can have nurseries to see where it will grow better, all those things are under consideration.
“You know, in Paramakatoi, time like now [13:00hrs] in the day, the place is still foggy and cold, so that is an area we have to look at because sometimes wheat grows into temperate areas,” Minister Mustapha said.
The Burma Rice Research Station is also a possible location to grow the item.
“We have enough land there but then we will also have to look at the climatic condition,” the Agriculture Minister contended.
A global shortage of wheat, stemming from the Ukraine/Russia crisis, has impacted many countries, including Guyana, prompting plans to grow wheat here.
Minister Mustapha revealed that the government is determined for Guyana to produce its own wheat.
“We can’t depend too much on imports and as a country, we have to ensure that we produce our own food and be self-sufficient because we can have all the money in the world and we have seen during the pandemic how many countries are suffering to get food because there is a scarcity,” Minister Mustapha said.
Last month, the National Milling Company of Guyana Inc. (NAMILCO) announced a 15 per cent increase in flour prices.
In a statement issued by the company, it explained that the price of wheat had increased by 40 per cent with additional costs to packaging, additives, and fuel. Economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have contributed to the surge in the cost of goods worldwide.