Billions to be distributed to households, farmers affected by floods – Pres. announces


President Dr. Irfaan Ali today announced that over $7.9 billion would be distributed to households and farmers affected by the recent floods throughout the Ten Administrative Regions.

In his address to the nation, the Head-of-State said that the unprecedented rainfall during the period of April to June this year resulted in over 300 communities directly affected for a protracted period.

In fact, he said that approximately 52,000 households were directly affected, with the agriculture sector receiving a severe blow with a loss of 92,000 acres of farm and farmlands completed affected.

President Ali said that those affected are homestead farms, kitchen gardens, and households. Among those categories, farmers within the homestead category would benefit from $100,000 each while those with kitchen gardens will benefit from $50,000 each, and households without any gardens would also receive $50,000.

However, the combined assistance to homestead farmers, kitchen-gardens, and households in the categories listed is more than $3.5 billion.

Additionally, 50,000 acres of farmlands out of 2000 farmers were affected, and assistance was also announced to assist those farmers which includes $80,000 per acre for rice that was ready to harvest but was lost in the floods; $65,000 per acre for rice sowed and lost in the autumn crops; and $45,000 per acre for land that was already prepared but was not sowed.

The government has also announced that they will be distributing 60,000 bags of paddy seeds which will amount to some $3.2 billion to rice farmers.
However, with regards to the livestock industry, assistance would be in four categories: subsistence farmers, small farmers, medium farms, and large-scale farmers.
According to President Ali, the 2000 farmers that were affected by the floods, will benefit from over $600 million in direct transfer. In addition to this, the Ministry of Agriculture through the Guyana Livestock and Development Authority (GL& DA) will be conducting a series of works and provide services amounting to some $500 million.

The Head-of-State also stated that whilst some large rice and poultry farmers were affected by the floods, the assistance to individualized farmers would not exceed $10 million.

Further adding to that, ongoing infrastructural works will continue to rebuild dams, farm-to-market access roads, hinterland roads, community roads, drainage systems, and other infrastructure destroyed during these floods.
Nevertheless, the Head of State said, “I am aware that this assistance will go a long way in bringing relief. However, it can never compensate for the emotional and social loss which I saw and experienced first-hand. I assure you that this government will continue to work on an aggressive national drainage plan in the context of climate change so as to mitigate further climate events and disasters.”

These monetary reliefs will be made from a $10 billion supplementary funding that the government secured from the National Assembly.
Providing a breakdown of the various sectors hit by the flooding, the President said that the sugar industry was also significantly affected with estimated losses in the fields of over $1.5B.

“Over 50 percent of mining operations were affected, as mining communities were cut off as a result of infrastructural damage. Our initial assessment estimates rehabilitation work over $1B for the mining community,” the Head-of-State said while noting that the initial estimate points to approximately $23B or more in loss of production.

He added, “Damage to the Forestry Sector, loss of production, and damage to equipment is estimated at an excess of $8B.”

To this end, the President said that the total, socio-economic impact assessment is currently being examined by UN ECLAC, which would give the country an overall understanding as to the cost of the flood to the economy, regions, and communities.

“I assure you this Government will continue to work on an aggressive national drainage plan in the context of climate change so as to mitigate further climate events and disasters,” President Ali concluded.


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