Aquaculture cage trials to be introduced at Kwakwani
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has promised that a total of 50 marine cages are expected to be procured to boost aquaculture and farmers at Kwakwani, Region Ten (Upper Demerara- Upper Berbice will be receive some.
The commitment was made on Tuesday when Minister Mustapha met with farmers in the area at the Community’s Recreational Centre.
He explained that farmers at Kwakwani must get involved in all sub-sectors of agriculture.
“We have bought cages and we are now putting fingerlings like tilapia and tambaqui in those cages. One of that cage is capable of earning someone almost $8 million every year.
“I am hoping this year to have another 50 and I will bring here in this community,” Minister Mustapha told the farmers.
He said the production has not been completed but trials have started in Region Two at Capoey and Lake Mainstay. He said the production has increased from 10,000 kilogrammes to 80,000 kilogrammes.
During Mustapha’s visit, the residents pleaded for assistance with farming in the area. They highlighted that the drainage system there is causing floods and some farmers have little knowledge about new farming techniques. They also asked for assistance to get crops and animals.
In addition, the residents said a steamer is needed at the Berbice River for foods harvested to be transported to markets. Another concern was the lack of health facilities and access to financial services in the region.
While all concerns did not have a “quick fix” response by the Minister, he promised a number of other developmental projects which will address the needs of the farmers and other residents.
The Minister said a team from various government agencies will return to assist with drainage and all machinery will be made available. These teams will also offer guidance to farmers.
Further, ten chemical pumps and ants bait were donated along with seeds for crops. The Kwakwani secondary school will also be given a shade house to encourage students to study agriculture. Some 50 giant black birds and six pigs will also be donated to the school.
Minister Mustapha said another step will be to build a fence around some 100 acres of land where cattle cannot destroy the crops planted by farmers. This project will be on stream by March, he said.
The Minister also said he will engage with Demerara Bank Limited to discuss having a branch in the Region.
In his response to the needs of the farmers, the Minister warned that Guyana is aiming to become the food capital in the Caribbean and therefore farmers must work along with the government and be serious about farming.