Farmers of West Watooka, Dallawalla, Block 22, Rockstone Wisroc and Nottinghamshire in Linden, Region 10 will soon benefit from a host of new initiatives to help improve their lives.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha met with the farmers on Saturday, where he learned of a number of issues affecting them.
Farmers from West Watooka sought assistance for the development of cattle pastures, an access road to gain entry to their farms, soil testing, farming tools and implements, improved drainage and irrigation as well as assistance to develop poultry rearing.
After listening to their concerns, Minister Mustapha said the government is committed to developing the agriculture sector to reduce the large food import bill. As such, the ministry will work with each farmer to resolve the issues.
The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will conduct drainage and irrigation works in the area. The ministry will also construct an access road to help farmers access their farmlands. Twenty poultry farmers will each receive 25 chickens and two bags of feed to expand production.
“We’ll help you to get the frame for the shade house and NAREI will assist you and we will help you to fix the shade house too and get the crops […] We’ll help you to build a pasture, you all have to form a partnership and you will have to start some work…. we’ll provide all the seed for the grass to get a proper pasture in the area,” Minister Mustapha announced while addressing West Watooka farmers.
Medium and small-scale farmers at Dallawalla also raised drainage and irrigation issues. They requested fertilisers, planting materials, farming tools and input.
“NDIA will come here to look at the site where the canal will be…. We will work with the farmers to increase their production and look at the plots that they have,” Minister Mustapha stated.
Block 22 and Rockstone farmers will benefit from drainage and irrigation works, shade houses, farming tools and inputs, and fresh water.
A resident Veterinarian will also be deployed to Region 10 for the first time.
The minister assured residents that all efforts will be made to improve their quality of life.
“All the single parents, I want to assure you that we will work with you, we will give you the tools, we will give you the seeds, and we will help you all to farm. Those persons who raised issue of cattle […]I want us (farmers) to form a cattle association in Region 10 so that we can work with you all to help you get land and also to help you develop your herd so that we can increase cattle production in Region 10.”
In addition, shade house materials will be given to farmers in Nottinghamshire at half price. An inoperable machine will be replaced within a week to help with drainage and irrigation works.
“We have to work together. Many persons might not know what we are doing, we have extension officers, they will have to inform you on what we’re doing. There are a lot of facilities, a lot of budgetary allocations that the government is making in the agriculture sector.”
Farmers were urged to take advantage of the agro-processing facility which will be commissioned in Watooka within a month, which will provide more economic benefits and expand their production.
Government has been investing heavily in the agriculture sector to ensure economic diversification with less dependence on the oil and gas industry. The agriculture minister told farmers that the budgetary allocation will be increased every year to allow agriculture to expand and become an important pillar to Guyana’s economic growth.