Photo Credits: Guyana Times News Paper
A new Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) is expected to be instituted in Region Six, catering to the agriculture needs of the region this communicated to Berbicicians by Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustpah during a recent visit to the region.
He said that Government is aiming to establish the tertiary academic learning facility as soon as possible in the region, since Berbice is the only of three counties that does not have a Guyana School of Agriculture facility for those willing to undertake the career. Most are unable to do so in the current circumstances, due to the distance between Berbice and Mon Repos, where the main learning institution is located.
Minister Mustapha further stated that as of now, the location they are looking at for the new Guyana School of Agriculture is within the University of Guyana, Johns campus compound – this campus strictly focuses on science courses and also has an Agriculture Faculty. However, it does not allow prospective students to complete a diploma in Agriculture, neither does it enable students to be involved in practical work as it relates to agriculture
Therefore, in order to have an overall understanding of Agriculture and master the field work – whether it be in farming or rearing livestock – persons have to complete the Guyana School of Agriculture program.
“Right now, we are looking at the University of Guyana’s Johns campus, because they have an agriculture department there. So I am looking to incorporate that if they have enough space and we can use that facility.”
Students desirous of completing an Associate’s/Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture, first have to attend the Guyana School of Agriculture and complete the two-year diploma program, and further their studies at the University of Guyana for an Associate’s Degree In the field.
Being Guyana’s only post-secondary college in Agricultural Education, the Guyana School of Agriculture has two campuses, one located in Mon Repos and the other in Cotton Field, Essequibo.
The Cotton Field campus, according to Mustapha, has not been functioning of late; however, he said very soon he will be making visits to Essequibo to reactivate the campus, and ensure it begins functioning to full capacity – giving young persons an opportunity to attend the school and engage in agricultural activities that will, in the future, benefit Guyana.
“We have tertiary education in Berbice, but the most important one that is left out is the Guyana School of Agriculture. We are planning to have that here. Very shortly a new GSA Board will be formed, and this will be tossed to them – to bring a branch of the Guyana School of Agriculture in Berbice – so that we can have Berbicians have the same facilities that are in Georgetown.”
Zulfikar stated that the new GSA Board will be headed by Mr. Dindial Permaul. He said that this initiative will benefit Berbicians tremendously, as a vast number within the population are now redirecting their career to Agriculture.
“Agriculture must not be seen as a minimal activity or a part-time job. We need to stop the perception that Agriculture is for persons who dropped out of school, but more so look at Agriculture as something meaningful. It should be done in the most scientific way, and we must prepare our people to do Agriculture in order for us to have successful production,” Mustapha asserted.
The Guyana School of Agriculture was established in 1963 by former President Dr. Cheddi Jagan. In 1964 it became state-owned, offering the Diploma in Agriculture and the Certificate in Agriculture Program. Over the past 40 years, the school has produced 2,328 graduates.
With agriculture being the mainstay of Guyana’s economy, the school’s objectives are to offer theoretical and practical training in Agriculture. Secondly, it focuses on developing, managing and operating farms in accordance with appropriate farming practices.