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Gdf shaded cultivation project grows “exotic” vegetables

The Guyana Defence Force Agriculture Corps has initiated a project which has, to date, delivered promising results in the cultivation of cauliflower and broccoli, two crops which are gaining popularity in Guyana.

Private Trevon Poole holding one of the harvested broccolis grown under Shaded Cultivation.The project is a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Agriculture and utilises ‘shaded cultivation’  – a modern farming system where the crops are grown in a sheltered environment utilising technology to avert the direct effects of excessive rainfall and sunlight. The project started in October last year with the construction of the shaded facility and actual cultivation began in November.

The vegetables are being grown in elevated plant beds under a structure which is roofed with melted and woven UV resistant plastic. The elevated beds are to prevent water logging which sometimes occurs at ground level planting. Cabbage, Plum tomatoes, bull- nose sweet peppers, and lettuce are used for intercropping in the system and have also seen positive results.

Officer Commanding Agri Corps Captain James Fraser envisages an expansion of the project since the planting of the high priced vegetables for the force’s consumption would reflect positively on its food bill. He pointed out too that ultimately, the Force intends that its farm becomes a model facility in addition to its primary purpose.

The Shaded Cultivation ProjectPrivate Trevon Poole is tasked with the daily responsibility of the crops . The Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) trained soldier explained that so far he has encountered no major challenges with the vegetables which only require more attention as well as constant observation with enormous attention to weeds which harbour pests and sucks  the plant’s nutrients.

The elevated beds, he said, assist with less water loss and leads to better yield. So far there has been no need for the introduction of insecticides since the leaf minor is so far the only known parasite but is not present on a large scale.

The cultivation of the broccoli adds to an array of  vegetables grown at the army’s farm  where cattle , swine and poultry rearing and bee keeping is also done . The farm is visited by agriculture students from school countrywide as well as farmers.

The Guyana Defence Force continues to pay its role in contributing to the national Development of Guyana.