Over $74.4 M in equipment commissioned to boost agriculture sector

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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha today commissioned several pieces of equipment which fall under the 2021 capital expenditure for the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary -Agriculture Development Authority (MMA-ADA) and the Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCI Ltd).

The respective agencies expended more than $74.4 million to procure two long-reach excavators and a tractor with accompanying implements.

 These pieces of equipment will be used to improve agricultural operations for farmers in the MMA Scheme and the Hope Estate farming community.

Last April, the MMA-ADA signed the contract to procure two long-reach excavators with Farm Supplies Limited, while the HCI Ltd signed an agreement in May with General Equipment Guyana Inc. for the supply of the tractor and implements.  

The two long-reach excavators were procured for $64 million and will be used primarily to enhance the drainage and irrigation system in the MMA-Scheme.

During the commissioning, Minister Mustapha said that since taking office, the Government has been making the necessary investments to improve agriculture in the Scheme.

“This is only the beginning. Over the last ten months, we’ve seen a number of initiatives that were implemented by the Government to enhance our agriculture sector. As a Government, we see agriculture as one of the most important tools that can be used to develop our country. Although we are an emerging oil and gas producing country, we cannot depend solely on the resources that will be gained from that sector. Since taking office last year, I’ve been working to bring the sector back, and as a Government, we will ensure that the necessary budgetary allocations are made to develop the sector. Today is a testament to that commitment.

When I became Minister, this MMA Scheme was in a terrible state. The first representation I made as Minister was to go to Cabinet for emergency funds to do rehabilitation works in this scheme. Canals were blocked, drainage and irrigation structures were dilapidated, and dams were impassable. When I presented that case for the approval of funds, Cabinet gave its no objection because as a government we understand the role this scheme plays in the country’s overall agriculture output,” Minister Mustapha said.

Following that exercise, Minister Mustapha commissioned a tractor with accompanying implements, which Hope Coconut Industries Limited procured at a value of $10,441,100.

Minister Mustapha said the tractor would be used to assist farmers to boost their productivity and improve their operations.

“This year, we’ve allocated $70 million for Hope Estate. This tractor and implements form part of Hope Estate’s capital investments, and it will be used to assist farmers in the scheme. We’ll also be establishing a number of coconut nurseries across the country as part of our 2021 work programme. Since taking office, we’ve had to refocus the operations of the Hope Estate. A new management Board was put in place and has since been working in the best interest of the farmers. I’ve been working very closely with the Board to enhance not only the coconut production but the other crops that are being grown here.”

Minister Mustapha also noted that despite the inclement weather over the past few months, there were no instances of flooding in the Estate. This, he said, was due to the infrastructural works over the last ten months.

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