Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha says technical support, equipment and supplies will be provided to Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) and East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) farmers to ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods.
The Minister made these comments during an outreach exercise to three major farming communities in Region Six on Saturday. He was accompanied by a technical team including representatives from the Guyana Livestock Development Authority, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute and others.
Minister Mustapha said the exercise is one of the many initiatives taken by the Ministry to close the gap in the sector.
“The Agriculture sector will get better in this region and the country as a whole through this initiative of meeting and listening to you to close the gap of deficiency in the sector…The economy will surely be rejuvenated to create jobs and other opportunities for the Guyanese,” the Agriculture Minister said.
Farmers then raised concerns about the need for proper irrigation and drainage systems, plans for cash crops, the improvement of rice farms, installation of streetlights and land rental rates.
The Minister assured the residents that the relevant officials would address these matters within the week. He also noted that this could only be achieved through a collaborative effort between the farmers and Government officials.
It was noted that the land rental rates and drainage and irrigation costs will be restored to the original 2014 agreement as a way to put more money in the pockets of the farmers.
Meanwhile, the Minister gave similar assurances to the farmers of Dantzig community, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) following a community meeting. He empathised with them over past losses due to flooding and committed to seeking guidance on the matter.
“We all know that saltwater can be quite damaging to one’s farm and so I cannot promise you anything as a Minister because there needs to be some technical testing to find out whether you can continue to farm in this area in the future. So my technical team will be [here]within the week to do so and then I can make a decision on our step forward,” the Minister said.
Minister Mustapha also announced that food hampers would be distributed to the community soon.
Other stakeholders who attended the outreach included representatives from the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and the Guyana Rice Development Board. (Extracted and modified from Department of Public Information)