GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – As the government continues with its plans to further develop Guyana’s aquaculture sector, agriculture minister, Zulfikar Mustapha disclosed that black water shrimp (Peneaus schmitti) production has increased significantly when compared to 2022.
“For this year, our farmers were able to produce 182.89 metric tons (182,890 kilograms) of black water shrimp in the first quarter, earning over $274 million. When we look at the production figures for the first quarter of 2022, we are seeing an increase of almost 50 percent.
This is in keeping with our goals for the industry and a testament to the government’s commitment to increasing local production, lowering the food import bill, and increasing both our production and export capacities. We are working towards producing 1.5 million kilogrammes annually by the year 2025,” the minister noted.
The minister explained that with the successes seen thus far, the ministry is now working to have the programme replicated in other regions, the next being Region Five.
“So far, we’ve assisted farmers with constructing ponds in Region Six and we’ve started preliminary works in Region Five. We’re also looking at other places like Region Two and so on. In the first few months of the project, we were able to increase production by 203 percent and those levels have continued to increase over the years,” the minister noted.
Minister Mustapha further stated that some 37 farms in Region Six have been developed comprising a total of 133 ponds.
“Before we started this project in July 2021, farmers were producing just about 10,000 kilogrammes monthly, just about 120,000 kilogrammes annually. We announced that this was the direction we wanted to take and that farmers would be given the support to expand. To date, we’ve been able to construct 133 ponds, and this has contributed to us exceeding initial production figures,” he added.
In an effort to boost productivity, the government of Guyana partnered with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to conduct a study and gather information for the piloting and implementation on a strategy to enhance shrimp production in Guyana and several other Caribbean states.
Recently the ministry received three manuals that were developed collaboratively by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Wildlife Fund – Guianas (WWF-Guianas), and the ministry’s fisheries department; one of which will be used to guide brackish water shrimp production in Guyana.