According to the United Nations (UN) organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is helping Guyana improve the output of West Indian Cherry (Acerola) and decrease the amount of concentrate that local juice makers purchase.
"While there is still a high demand for cherries in the nation, particularly for use in the fruit juice sector, a steady supply has not been able to be maintained. Even though cherries grown in Guyana are preferred, some local fruit juice companies have been forced to rely on imported concentrate to keep up with demand, according to a statement from the FAO.
The West Indian Cherry, also known as the Acerola, is a treasured and well-liked fruit that many have long appreciated either in their natural state or when preserved with fresh juices, jellies, or other preservatives.
More than 170 stakeholders took part in a training program that lasted a week from February 7 to February 10, 2023, to solve these supply challenges. Cherry producers as well as representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the New Guyana Marketing Corporation, and the Tropical Orchards Products Company took part in the event (TOPCO).
By addressing some of the technical production issues, the FAO stated that training in West Indian Cherry production aimed to assist the nation in increasing its output of cherries for local market use. Good agricultural methods to assist increase yields and aid farmers in managing Anthracnose, a serious disease that attacks cherry trees, were two of the main areas of focus.
Participating Cherry Farmer Chandreka Lall noted that he gained a lot of knowledge about grafting and budding that will aid in his production.
Similarly, Mr. Dexter Van-Veen from TOPCO said the trainings were educational, particularly with regard to the planting materials being used, and that they had made him realize how cherry production could be enhanced.
He continued by saying that the sessions would be especially beneficial for trainers who will instruct other farmers. He had a positive learning experience, he said.
Dr. Rogério Ritzinger, FAO Tree Crop Expert, who will continue to assist the National Value Chain team in Guyana in the production of cherry to implement the strategies taught throughout the trainings, conducted the training sessions.
Source: Demera Waves