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From hinterland to heartland: Knowledge and market insecurity are barriers to crop farmers using sustainable soil management in Guyana

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sharron Kuznesof, Dr Jeremy Robert Franks



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © 2023 Melville, Kuznesof and Franks.In Guyana, the coastal plains dominate agricultural production, while the hinterland is an emerging agricultural frontier. The coastal and hinterland regions have differing agro-climatic conditions, but share immediate climate change and environmental degradation pressures, including soil degradation. Even though climate change adaptation is prioritized over greenhouse gas mitigation in Guyana, soil-focused farming, otherwise known as sustainable soil management (SSM), can provide a system that creates synergies between these two facets of climate-smart agriculture and, also, promotes soil security. This article proposes a bottom-up planning process for SSM in Guyana by assessing its underlying psycho-social and physical facilitators and barriers. The main questions addressed are: what are the attitudes of Guyanese farmers to climate change? What are their capabilities for SSM, in terms of education, technology and government support? In answering these questions, inductive-derived thematic analysis of transcripts derived from in-depth telephone interviews with seventeen (17) farmers, from coastal and hinterland regions, provides an initial basis for ground truthing on the local appropriateness of SSM. Results show that hinterland farmers are more emotive and value-driven about their environment, while coastal farmers, instead, prioritize access to markets and gaining favorable prices for their commodities. Additionally, the lack of education and training are identified as severe limitations to the capabilities of farmers to practice SSM. In conclusion, a weak marketing environment is seen as a binding constraint of sustainable intensification as surplus goods attract low prices. Stronger linkages to dynamic markets, as well as increased investment opportunities are needed for sustainable farming to become economically feasible. Therefore, psychosocial capital must be strengthened before any natural capital is improved under Guyana's various agro-environmental policies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Melville JL, Kuznesof S, Franks JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems

Year: 2023

Volume: 7

Online publication date: 13/03/2023

Acceptance date: 24/02/2023

Date deposited: 11/04/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2571-581X

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.


DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2023.1037368


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