The thousands of farmers and households who suffered millions in damages during the recent floods will soon receive their promised direct cash transfer, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said on Monday.
He explained that the flood assessment is nearly completed and that officers are working to “sanitize the list” before the cash grants can be doled out.
“The aim of the government is to help those persons get back on their feet, help them get back to the land so that we can go back to where we started,” Minister Mustapha said.
“The [Agriculture] Sector was moving rapidly, and we have seen the devastation the flood has caused and to date, we are still having heavy, continuous rainfall.”
He added that the some of the hard-hit estates are now attempting to pick up steam and report that the rice industry has begun sowing for the new crop.
“We are moving apace, I believe that 75% of this rice crop have been sown and we are expecting that with the help we will be giving to the farmers….we will have a bumper crop this season,” the Agriculture Minister said.
It was back on July 31, that President Dr. Irfaan Ali announced that those flood-affected farmers can expect billions in assistance after the May-June flood season wreaked havoc on crops and livestock and also damaged homes.
President Ali said that homestead farmers would receive $100,000 while those with kitchen gardens would receive $50,000 each. Other households, who had neither farms nor kitchen gardens, will receive $50,000, totaling in excess of $3.6 billion.
With over 50,000 acres of rice lost during the floods and over 2,000 farmers taking a hit, rice farmers will also be receiving assistance in excess of $3.2 billion.
For rice that was ready for harvest and was lost in the flood, farmers will receive $80,000 per acre; for rice sowed and lost in the autumn crop, those farmers are set to receive $65,000 per acre and those farmers who prepared their lands but were unable to plant will receive $45,000 per acre.
In addition to this support, 60,000 bags of seed paddy will be made available to the farmers.
The more than 2,000 poultry farmers who suffered losses will receive more than $600 million in relief assistance under four categories: farmers, and small, medium and large-scale poultry farmers.
Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) will be providing assistance through genetic improvements, drainage and irrigation works, technical support, and extension services to the approximate value of $500 million.
Further, President Ali said in addition to that support, ongoing infrastructure works will continue to rebuild dams, farm to market access roads, hinterland roads, mining roads, community roads, drainage systems and other infrastructure that were destroyed or deteriorated during the floods.