Mahaica farmers to get more support from gov’t

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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday met with farmers from Cane Grove, Mahaica to discuss how the government can assist with expanding agricultural production in the area.

The meeting was held at the Virginia Primary School and saw attendance from all categories of farmers as well as representatives from the Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) and the Water Users’ Association.

Many farmers who attended the meeting raised concerns over the way resources are distributed among farmers. The minister was told that only a selected few benefit from resources and inputs that should be distributed to all farmers in the area.

It was further disclosed that the persons who benefited from a recent distribution were registered and that those inputs were collected based on the number of persons who registered.

After listening to the farmers’ concerns, Minister Mustapha said that it is the government’s intention to ensure every farmer benefits from the resources available, adding that it is easier to know what is needed if farmers are registered.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha engaging the farmers (Photo: MoA/ September 09, 2023)

Minister Mustapha said that there were many internal conflicts among the farmers are urged them to work together so that the agriculture sector in Cane Grove can develop. He told the farmers that the country has seen tremendous growth over the last six months and credited the investments made by the government to those successes.

If we want this community to develop, we have to cooperate. Agriculture is one of the main activities in this area. Only today, H.E. President Irfaan Ali spoke about the growth in the country over the last six months. From January to June, the country grew by almost 59.5%. In the non-oil sector, we had almost 13% growth. Agriculture is contributing to that growth. The investment we’ve been making has contributed to that.

“We’ll continue to make those allocations because we want the country to be food secure. We have to change the way we are doing things so I will ensure our extension arm works along with you to empower you to produce more. I want all the farmers to register with the ministry so we know what resources are needed and how many farmers need inputs to improve their production.,” he explained.

Minister Mustapha also said that farmers will continue to benefit from inputs to support their production. He noted that services like artificial insemination as well as access to quality breeding stock will also be made available to farmers from Cane Grove. He also told farmers who requested drainage works to be done, that the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority will work along with the Water Users Association to have the blocked canals cleared and maintained.

“Rest assured, we will continue to work along with you. I just said that for the livestock farmers, we can assist with AI, breeding animals, and poultry. I can make a commitment here that each swine farmer in Cane Grove will receive a pair of swine to increase their flock. Likewise, we can work with the cash crop farmers to make better planting materials available. We are also working to see how we can get access to cheaper inputs like fertilizers and chemicals. As it relates to markets, we have the New GMC and we can work with you to get markets for your produce with better prices. I want to make a commitment; that we will work with the most vulnerable set in the community to start the Black Giant programme. For those canals that need cleaning, I’ll ask the NDIA to work along with the Water Users. Those persons in Cane Grove who have machines will be given small contracts to clean those canals then awards will be given to continue manual cleaning. The three pumps that you spoke about, I just spoke to the REO and told him to ensure the pumps are operable, the minister added.

The minister also told farmers that the government has embarked on new areas of production as part of its efforts to lower the food import bill and ensure Guyana remains food secure. He encouraged them to explore producing new crops that attract high market value both locally and regionally.

We are trying to expand on the traditional crops, but at the same time, we are embarking on new things. In two years from now, Guyana will produce all the corn and soya needed for the livestock sector. Every year, we usually import US$60 million worth of corn and soya. Now, we are planting corn and soya in the Tacama Savannah. We build silos there with the capacity to store 9,000 tons. We did the road and we are in the process of constructing a wharf. We started cultivating high-valued crops and are now supplying the hospitality industry. These are areas that you have to get involved in,” Minister Mustapha said.

Teams from the ministry are expected to return to the area in the coming week to continue farmers’ registration and verification exercises as well as to assess the clogged canals so that drainage works can commence.

Minister Mustapha was accompanied by several programme heads from within the ministry. (Press release from the Ministry of Agriculture) 

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1 Comment
  1. Derek De Souza says

    great 👌 to read this.

    Guyana being self-sufficient in the agriculture sector.

    God 🙏 bless Dr Ali and his cabinet

    Trinidad watching

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