Twenty-nine farmers recently travelled to Crabwood Creek, Berbice, where they interacted with farmers there on improving the quality of their produce.The initiative was organised by the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) with the aim of promoting linkages among farmers, buyers and service providers and to establish a social relationship among farmers within Guyana.Twenty-two farmers from Parika, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), three farmers from Mara on the East Bank of Berbice, and four farmers from Central Corentyne Berbice, travelled to Crabwood Creek on February 12 to participate in the farmers’ exchange visit.Regional Market Coordinator Milton Dookie talking to farmers who participated in the farmers’ exchange visit recently held in Crabwood Creek, Berbice, Region SixThe first of this initiative took place last October, where farmers from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) visited farms in Parika, Region Three.On this occasion, the visitors keenly observed the different practices undertaken by the Crabwood Creek farmers after which a general discussion was facilitated by Regional Marketing Coordinator of the GMC, Milton Dookie.According to Dookie, among the many other potential outcomes, the exchange visit will enhance the knowledge of farmers as it relates to best practices as they strive to improve the quality of their produce.“Farmers in Guyana would use various practices in order to improve quality and productivity. It is known that farmers value their colleague’s experience and knowledge,” Dookie said in a statement released by the GMC.During the interaction, the team shared information and ideas regarding production practices for various non-traditional produce in their specific geographic locations.“Farmers from Malali sideline, Crabwood Creek, have developed and adopted production practices (plant spacing, drain construction, planting method etc) that differ from that of farmers in Region Three, mainly due to their heavy dependence on rainfall for irrigation water,” said Devin Warner, Region Six’s Crop Extension Officer.Produce such as eddoes, cassava, sweet potato, plantain, pumpkin and watermelon are cultivated on a large scale in Crabwood Creek.According to the GMC, it was evident that the farmers have a good appreciation for the production of quality produce. Nevertheless, the group expressed the need for support in understanding proper post-harvest management practices which will ensure that the quality of their produce is maintained which, by extension, will ensure that safe and wholesome food is delivered to consumers.GMC said its officers assured farmers that requisite training in the area of post-harvest management will be done within months. “Being aware of the importance of good post-harvest management practices, GMC is determined to instil these values in farmers countrywide,” Warner reiterated. He said that visits of such nature will be used as a mechanism to promote the appreciation of good post-harvest management.The farmers from Parika said they were impressed with the way farming is done in Crabwood Creek, especially as it relates to the scale of production and utilisation of the large expanse of land for large scale production.General Manager, Ida Sealey-Adams affirmed that plans are in place to replicate these activities in other regions in 2019. She further stated that GMC has been utilising various mechanisms to increase the capacity of its farmers over the years.“Exchange visits have been tried and tested worldwide among farming communities. Oftentimes the learning process reflects the different stages in the adoption hierarchy, where the creation of awareness must be followed by an interest in the practice. This commonly leads to changes in the way of thinking and a subsequent translation of ideas into action thereafter adoption,” Adams explained.