A number of persons living with disabilities from regions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 had the opportunity on Wednesday to learn a number of farming techniques.
This was made possible by the Ministry of Agriculture inaugural ‘Agr-Ability’ programme at the Guyana School of Agriculture in Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.
The programme is part of the month-long activities to commemorate Agriculture Month under the theme: Sustainable agriculture for ensuring food safety and a green economy.
Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Valerie Patterson-Yearwood told the participants that their disability does not mean that they are incompetent.
“I know that you have a lot of talent, I know you have a lot of skills and you have answers to many problems that we have today and some of you are even more valuable in what you can do, more than persons who have no disability.”
According to the Minister, every level of decision making should include persons with disabilities.
“It is time that us at Government and leadership level should provide for you,” the Minister said.
The Minister noted that the Government signed on to the Millennium Development Goals which states that every public building should have accessibility for persons with a disability.
“Those of us who are fit and proper should have compassion for persons living with disabilities; we should be more courteous and extend more love or care.”
“…I see people visually impaired or blind trying to cross the road and some uncouth driver refuses to stop,” the Minister said.
Ganesh Singh from the Guyana Society of the Blind and the Agr-Ability programme coordinator noted that for the last couple of years, they have been trying to get more persons with disabilities involved in agriculture, whether it is in processing or starting their own little farms.
“It ensures that we can start our own little business, become entrepreneurs, plant those little plots of beds in your backyard so at the end of the week you can get a $5000, we need to go in that direction and today could be the beginning of that,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Cecil Morris, Chairman of the Guyana Council of Organisation for persons with a disability, encouraged the participants to make good use of the opportunity and take back what they learn to their communities.
Each participant was given an 18-month-old coconut tree.