Reg. 1 farmers to kickstart large-scale ginger production with $20M support

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Farmers in several villages in Region One (Barima-Waini) were, on Friday, urged to get involved in the large-scale production of spices, more so ginger.

During an outreach to Sebai, Canal Bank, and Port Kaituma in the Matarkai sub-district, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha told the farmers that the government has made steps to make the region a hub for large-scale production of various spices.

The minister’s visit comes just days after President Dr. Irfaan Ali visited the region to meet with residents. During the meeting, President Ali told farmers that several government ministers, including Minister Mustapha, would be hosting meetings in the region before the end of 2022.

While engaging farmers at the meetings, Minister Mustapha disclosed that Cabinet recently approved purchasing $20 million worth of planting material to begin large-scale production of ginger.

“In Region One, we are trying to develop the spices industry. This is a very lucrative industry and we want our farmers to benefit. Right now, in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there is a large demand for spices.

Minister Zuflikar Mustapha while engaging a resident from Port Kaituma (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture)

“If we can work with you to develop that industry, especially ginger, we will be able to satisfy those demands. This has to be a community decision. We will provide the planting materials. We’ve already purchased $20 million in planting materials. Once there is a general consensus, a technical team from NAREI to work with you to start the production. We’ll also send in the officers from the New GMC to assist you with the markets,” he noted.

He explained that although large-scale production of spices is being promoted, farmers are still encouraged to cultivate other crops.

“This doesn’t mean you cannot cultivate other crops. We will still give you the necessary support to cultivate other crops. You are still encouraged to plant basic crops to support your livelihood within the village and be more self-sufficient. We will also make planting materials and farming inputs available because we understand in order to make agriculture resilient, we have to diversify,” the minister added.

Last October, Minister Mustapha commissioned a set of new equipment at the spice factory in Hosororo that will be used to clean and process ginger.

Agricultural Development

During the meetings, farmers told Minister Mustapha that they were in need of assistance to boost their production. Requests were made for planting materials, farming tools, Acoushi Ants bait, poultry, drainage, as well as assistance with land development for farming.

Minister Mustapha handing over farming tools and other inputs to farmers from Canal Bank (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture)

While addressing farmers’ concerns, Minister Mustapha assured farmers that they too will benefit from the government’s assistance to boost production.

As part of the government’s hinterland development initiative, Minister Mustapha said each household would benefit from 20 Black Giant chicks to boost their poultry production. Farmers also received seeds and other inputs. The villages also received a number of farming tools and shadehouse materials to develop plant nurseries to supply to farmers in and around the various communities. Each village will also benefit from a tiller to assist land development, while a team of engineers from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority is also expected to visit the areas to address their drainage needs.

Minister Mustapha is expected to return to the Region soon to engage residents and farmers to develop an agriculture programme targeting single mothers and young people. The programme will see some 25 acres being developed for agricultural purposes. Since taking office, the government has been working to make agriculture more attractive to various classes of citizens, more so young people, single mothers, and vulnerable groups.

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