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… two-day visit results in donations, agriculture concerns being addressed
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha and a team visited the Rupununi for two days recently where they addressed the concerns of villagers across the Region, made donations to assist farmers and alerted residents of the Government’s plans for transformation in Region Nine.
The visiting team arrived on Tuesday and included Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj; Chief Technical Officer at Ministry of Agriculture Guyana, George Jervis and members of the media.
They were welcomed by Regional Executive Officer (REO), Karl Singh; Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock; Prime Minister Representative for Region Nine, Claire Singh; Agriculture Programme Coordinator, Dr. Darren Halley and other Regional agriculture team members.
The visit kicked started with a visit to the Rupertee Village Black Giant Project and then a meeting at the Rupertee Benab for all farmers in the area to voice their agriculture-related concerns.
There, Minister Mustapha discussed the provision of equal opportunities for farmers on the coast and hinterland, stemming from an equal division of resources. He stressed that the agriculture sector is very vital since it provides food security, jobs and wealth.
Farmers were also encouraged to consider large-scale corn and soya production. Meanwhile, the Minister donated tools and other items to the villagers while pledging to provide 400 additional black giant birds, an incubator, a shade house and a new development for each satellite village.
Later that day, the team visited Aranaputa Valley in the North Rupununi Sub-district. They visited a cattle farm, met with farmers at the Aranaputa Sports Ground and visited the Processing Facility there.
The minister told the villagers that all agriculture programs are geared to benefit the entire population, especially vulnerable groups and of three Agro-Processing facilities that will be in Region Nine to assist all farmers with marketing. The facilities are expected to add value to the products produced.
At Aranaputa Valley, the farmers received farming tools, acoushi ants bait, seeds, fastak and fertilizers.
The following day, the Minister of Agriculture and team, continued their visit with a meeting at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Boardroom with the Lethem’s Mayor, the Town Clerk, Councillors of the Municipality, the REO, Regional Chairman, Regional Vice Chairman, Agriculture Sub-committee Chairman, Agriculture sub-committee Vice Chairman, Regional Councillors and other Regional agriculture staff.
The team then commissioned the Nappi’s Shade House and then met with farmers from Nappi, Hiowa and Parishara villages at the Nappi Village Benab.
Speaking to the people, Minister Mustapha said that the Ministry will continue to address the concerns of farmers, with programs to be implemented after the discussions. He underscored that, with the 23 per cent increase in the National Budget for agriculture, resources will be made equally available for all.
The Minister also announced that a five-gallon spray can and two bongo pumps will be given to each of the three villages which will, from henceforth, also receive free supplies of Acoushi Ants bait.
A visit subsequently to Stock Farm in St. Ignatius, Central Sub-district, saw the Minister meeting with the staff of the agriculture agencies in the region namely, Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB). Villagers also came out to meet with the Minister to share their concerns.
As in previous sessions, Minister Mustapha allowed the farmers to voice their concerns; responded to these concerns; and made donations.
In his address stressed the importance of the aquaculture industry and the Ministry’s plan for that sector. He also spoke of a 14 million Agro-Processing Facility that will be built in the village and the planned purchase of a tractor with implements (roam plough, chipper etc.) that will benefit all farmers of the sub-district.
He also visited GLDA’s office to hand over a Blood Testing Machine to be used in the upcoming Sample Processing Lab.
The Minister concluded his outreach with a visit to Kumu and Moco Moco village. Both villages were reminded of the importance of agriculture and told of transformative projects that can improve their communities such as the Hinterland Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Development (HESAD) Project.
They were told of a fertilizer test machine that will be purchased, fogging machines that will be issued and the launching of an Aquaculture master plan that will benefit the village and others in the Rupununi.