Flood relief continues as gov’t agency gifts farmers black giant chicks

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The first 40 of 100 farmers from across Guyana each received 100 black giant chickens on Friday from the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) as part of the government’s flood relief aid.

In the coming months, some 10,000 of the large dual-purpose chickens will be distributed in phases; it comes almost a year after one of the most devastating floods in Guyana that resulted in millions of dollars in losses following the destruction of crops and livestock.

The government already commenced the delivery of cash relief but had also promised to support the rebound of the livestock industry with this type of support.

Farmers were encouraged on Friday not to see this support as a handout but to understand that they were part of the national and regional agriculture family and to understand their responsibility in that regard.

Some of the black giant chickens which was imported from the USA

The black giant chickens has the ability to produce up to 200 eggs annually and about 4.5 kilograms of meat. These birds have the ability to graze and forage as well as eat leftovers from the kitchen and still produce reasonably well. Given these qualities, the bird is well suited for local breeders.

Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha told the 40 farmers present that the move was part of building a robust and resilient agriculture sector not only for locals but for the Caribbean Region at large.

Although these chickens were imported from the United States of America for distribution, the plan on the table is to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 by 2025.

Mustapha said Guyana is committed to achieving this with some $135 million set aside to improve the country’s genetic stock across the livestock sector.

He said it was also the hope of the government that the selection and distribution of these types of aid would be done in a transparent and accountable manner.

“Those who are selected must ensure the benefits pass onto other farmers in their communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, GLDA’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dwight Walrond said the move would ensure the continued expansion of food security by the gifting of the “high-quality protein.”

He said it would reduce dependency on GLDA by farmers as the only supplier of chicks and eggs.

“There is nothing of this type in Guyana.”

The farmers were selected from communities all across Guyana and it included Nandranie Roy La Bonne Intention, East Coast Demerara, and Earl Brandt from New Hope, East Bank Demerara.

Brant, who works in the medical field, is also involved in livestock rearing for the last 15 years and said he suffered significant losses during the 2021 floods.

“I am extremely grateful for this venture because I lost a lot of my birds. So, receiving a call to be part of this I am grateful. This will take me a long way, this is a small replenishment of which I’m am grateful for,” he noted.

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