Development of the Peanut Sector for Guyana and Selected Caribbean Countries
Project UFL55 is an amazing example of the significant impact our projects can have on people’s lives. Starting out with $1 million in benefits just from the Cottage Industry, this project has now grown to a nationally implemented program with a projected $34 million in revenue including 33 villages and 4000 students.
In March 2010, Dr. Greg McDonald and his graduate students visited the Aranaputa Community to share with them the inauguration of the Peanut Butter Cottage Industry. This highly successful PCRSP project is truly a remarkable model of how local communities, along with university research support, and the right local NGO can alleviate poverty, increase women’s in- come and impact policy change.
The goals of this project were to improve varieties and extend them through on-farm research along with introduction of improved pest management practices and fertility enhancement; introduction of techniques to increase planting and harvesting efficiency are introduced through mechanization such as using shellers, threshers, etc., in collaboration with the fully belly project; standardization of peanut storage facilities and development of protocols for bagging, pest control in storage, and aflatoxin assessment; and development of a quality assurance protocol for peanut processing and peanut and peanut product storage.
Protocols were established in Guyana for on-farm packaging, inventory, insect control and aflatoxin assessment to ensure that peanut quality is maintained during handling and storage to processing of peanut butter, including the construction of state-of-the-art storage and processingfacilities that address these parameters. Farmers want improved cultivars, and they cooperate in on-farm research to develop practices to produce alternate or intercropped species. The farmers understand the value of the research and how field trials are conducted. A technical manual, with working protocols for the processing equipment and facilities was developed, including training of the cottage industry personnel to control aflatoxin contamination in peanuts through harvest to manufacture of peanut butter. The outcome was the growth of the cottage industry from seven to 43 villages selling high quality nutritious peanut butter in school lunch programs and also in local sales to a consumer driven market, which brings 75 million Guyana dollars annually into the local economy. Production research to maintain a flow of produce to the market is a component of the project, but has been hampered by weather and other factors.
In Haiti, work was initiated to improve farming practices, and reduce aflatoxin contamination in peanuts. Work has addressed new cultivars, along with other production practices. A production guide developed, produced and distributed in Guyana, was translated into Creole and distributed in Haiti. On-farm research continued in 2012 in Haiti with the in-country partner Food and Meds for Kids. The evaluation of peanut germplasm/cultivars for rust resistance continues to be a large and successful effort with rust resistant cultivars from ICRISAT. Aflatoxin continues to be problematic with efforts to address the issues with storage and proper training. Assistance with the processing facility, including fine tuning and efficiency has been provided. The ability to obtain adequate peanut produce continues to be an issue, but locally based cooperatives might be a possibility to collect produce and encourage farmers to increase production.
Cropping system research in 2012 in Guyana successfully intercropped peanut and cassava, but maize was detrimental to peanut probably because of excessive shading. Peanut cultivars introduced are being grown by local farmers, not due to yield, but rather pod architecture and ease of harvest. Smaller plants of the introduced cultivars should contribute to the adoption of mechanical threshers, difficult to use with the large plants in common cultivars. A small gas dryer was well accepted by farmers, and appears to be a valuable asset to farm communities. Even though aflatoxin levels remain low in whole roasted peanuts and peanut butter, better storage and bagging techniques need to be developed. The Grain Pro bags introduced earlier have not been accepted well by farmers; one problem was the difficulty of sealing the large bags by the cottage industry personnel. A streamlined procedure for aflatoxin testing that uses Vicam test kits continues to be developed. Studies to analyze the overall impact o increased peanut production and the associated cottage processing industries and school-lunch program is underway. Economic analysis should provide growers with a better framework to plan an integrated farming approach, which is lacking in many rural Guyana communities.
In 2012, efforts will culminate to provide:
- Updated production guide,
- Economic assessment,
- Posters and tech-packs in several areas of peanut production and utilization,
- Final survey of social impacts.
The project provides an excellent framework to develop an integrated approach centered on peanuts that can be employed in other regions and countries. Utilizing locally grown peanuts and other crops, a facility (cottage industry) to provide value-added products and proper market development are the keys to this success.
Dr. Greg MacDonald, Professor of Agronomy and Weed Science
- Dr. Clairmont Lye
- Dr. Dan Brown
Frank's Designs for Peanuts
- Mr. Frank Nolin
The Full Belly Project
- Dr. Jock Brandis
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Jamaica
- Dr. Ignasius Jean
Meds & Food for Kids
- Ms. Andrea McCartney
- Dr. Thomas Stehl
- Dr. Patricia Wolff, M.D.
National Agricultural Research Institute
- Dr. Oudo Homenauth
- Mr. James Geenan
- Mr. Jerry LaGra
University of Florida
- Dr. Brian Sevier
- Dr. Matthew Staehnke
University of Georgia
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