Bare Root & Enterprise farmers promised support to expand food production


On Saturday, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha met with farmers from Enterprise, Bare Root, and other surrounding communities along the East Coast of Demerara to listen to issues and discuss developmental plans for the agriculture sector.

During the meetings, farmers commended the government for the work done so far to develop Guyana’s agriculture sector and sought the ministry’s assistance with projects to expand and further develop their activities.

Farmers from Bare Root disclosed that there are hundreds of acres of land available in the backlands for farming but the lack of access and critical infrastructure were preventing them from utilizing those lands. Farmers also made requests for a series of drainage and irrigation works to be done within the current cultivation areas.

Minister Mustapha while responding to the issues raised said that the Ministry would work with the farmers to promote integrated farms in the area. This, he explained, would see farmers benefiting from assistance to do crops and livestock farming simultaneously.

A farmer from Bare Root engages the Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha seeking assistance with infrastructural development to increase production (Photo: MoA/ January 13, 2024)

We have to look at ways to fully utilize all of the lands you are using now. If we are serious about producing on a large scale, we need to adopt integrated farming. That way you can plant and rear livestock simultaneously. With that, you will be able to maximize production,” Minister Mustapha explained.

He also said that the ministry would work to have the necessary infrastructural work done so that farmers would have better drainage as well as access to new lands in the backlands.

We’ll do all the drainage for you. A team from the NDIA will be back here in the week to do an assessment and then we’ll start those works. When those works are completed, once farmers can identify their plots, we’ll assist you with preparing those lands to do farming. Through NAREI, we’ll make planting materials available to you, free of cost. The extension officers will come back and meet with you so that they can know what you want to plant. The backlands that are said to be heavily vegetated, we’ll work with you to develop those lands. We are always ready to work with farmers to bring more lands under cultivation so that when I come back you will tell me that those lands are now productive,” the Minister explained.

Minister Mustapha also committed to assisting the community with a mobile pump to assist with irrigation needs. He also told farmers that the ministry will work to find lucrative markets for their produce through the New Guyana Marketing Corporation.

Meanwhile, during the meeting at Enterprise, farmers sought clarity about the ongoing housing development projects and how these activities would impact their cultivation.

Minister Mustapha noted that while developing new housing schemes for citizens forms part of the government’s overall developmental agenda, he reassured farmers that agriculture will not be neglected.

I have been engaging the Ministry of Housing on this. We have to work together. Some persons may have to be relocated to lands that we will work to develop for agricultural purposes. We have to take into account the fact that this is a developing country so we have to ensure all sectors develop. We will work with you to find lands that will be used specifically for agricultural activities. GLDA is currently working on a plan to develop pasture for cattle rearing in this part of the region. Planting materials and inputs will also be made available to farmers free of cost,” Minister Mustapha explained.

A team comprising extension officers from NAREI, GLDA, and NDIA are also expected to meet with farmers from the community in the coming days.

Minister Mustapha was accompanied by several senior officers from within the ministry as well as community representatives. (Ministry of Agriculture press release)

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