Cheaper chicks, access to finance for farmers recovering from recent outbreak

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Small-scale farmers who suffered massive losses during a recent disease outbreak in chickens brought on by smuggling will now have access to cheaper and healthier chicks, and banks loans following interventions by the government.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Friday announced that through the Guyana Market Corporation (GMC), small-scale farmers will have access to chickens at a cheaper cost.

The announcement was made during consultations with the farmers at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.  Since late 2022 into 2023, chicken smuggling into the country has become a major issue.

The government has clamped down on the issue at the borders. And it has iven the GMC license to import chicks which will be vaccinated against diseases and sold at a much cheaper cost to farmers. This is among several direct responses to the farmers who suffered great losses.

“We have committed to pay for the vaccines that are needed now.

“I think it’s $29 million [and] that investment will avoid the $6 per chick to be passed on to you the farmers so we are removing that increase from the farmers,” the Head-of-State explained.

President Dr Irfaan Ali delivering remarks to the farmer (Photo: Ministry of Agriculture)

He further said that he was able to hold negotiations with banks to get low-cost financing for farmers who have said it is difficult to secure these. The President has held multiple consultations with the farmers to address the issue and he explained that with these interventions, the Demerara Bank Limited has agreed to provide small farmers who apply for loans that are $500,000 and less with an interest rate of 3.5 per cent.

For loans that are between $500,000 and $1 million the interest rate is 4 per cent and loans that are $1 million to $5 million will have an interest rate of 5.5 per cent.

In addition, a project implementation unit which composes of a team from several technical agencies in the Agriculture sector will assist these farmers.

Currently, the country’s poultry production provides employment for 18,000 persons and according to the Guyana Livestock Development Authority’s report for 2023, Guyana joined the global economy which suffered millions of dollars’ worth in losses due to the outbreak of diseases in animals and challenges faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the issues raised by the farmers were the quality of feed and the high cost of feed. However, Dr Ali explained that farmers will soon benefit from some 25,000 acres of land for farmers to grow rice. This adds to the ongoing production of corn which in turn, supplement the feed given to ducks and chicken.

The farmers in attendance at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre

Dr. Ali said that the government is also preparing for the increase in production by providing storage units for the chicken.

“We are going push you to ramp up production but when you ramp up production, there is a problem, we have to solve.

“We are going to co-invest and support the cold storage facilities in different regions so that when you ramp up production and you have a period of overproduction, we go into the cold storage,” the President said.

He also proposed that there is co-investment into a sausage plant, protein plant, and chicken nugget facility to push the country’s agenda of producing various foods for local and international markets.

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