More rice, fish production planned as gov’t expanding agriculture in Reg. 6


Guyana has been tasked with leading the Caribbean’s food security agenda while simultaneously producing more food to satisfy the local population, and more rice and fish should be produced in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) as the government expands production here.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali, during an outreach activity in the region on Monday, told residents that the government plans to “open up tens of thousands of new agricultural land” there.

“We have identified this region as one of the regions where the hemp industry will be developed,” the Head-of-State said.

The hemp industry has been touted as a new, profitable sector in Guyana. It is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation and biofuel. It also has many medicinal purposes.

But asked for further details on the new lands eyed for increased production, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said that the government is hoping to increase production of numerous other foods in the region.

“(For) some of the lands that will be opened up, we are looking at aquaculture, increased rice production (and) we are looking to consolidate the crops we are planting right now,” Mustapha said at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday.

He also related that the government is seeking to expand its corn and soya project, which has been rolled out to cut the amount of money spent on importing livestock feed annually, in Region Six.

And the increased production, Mustapha said, is linked to the government’s acquisition and use of large swathes of land throughout this large geographic region.

“We have a lot of land on the East Bank of Berbice that we are opening up now…right across the region we have a lot of land we are opening up now,” the Agriculture Minister emphasised.

In addition to the state lands, the minister said that private cane farmers in the region have signalled an interest in diversifying cultivation on their more than 12,000 acres of lands. Altogether, he posited that there is an abundance of land to boost agro-production.

Before the President’s announcement on Monday, Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo told Region Six residents on Sunday that the Agriculture Ministry would assess lands across the region to determine which crops would be most suitable for cultivation.

This may include the cultivation of cash crops, rice and soya.

Dr. Jagdeo also met with farmers from 17 cane farms and Cooperative Societies, to listen to their concerns and discuss how the government can support them in returning their businesses to viability.

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