Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
|The Government has allocated $177.7 million as additional resources to support the Black Belly Sheep Project. The fund approved in the Supplementary Budget forms part of the $44.8 billion financial paper presented to the National Assembly on Monday.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, is touting this spending as Guyana’s investment in helping the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) reduce its Food Import Bill by 25 per cent by 2025. Sheep meat is called mutton.
The government said Guyana wants to expand local production above 7,000 tonnes at the end of a five-year period. The effort, they said, requires a capital investment of US$175 million and approximately 25,000 acres of land. The expected earnings from this product is estimated at US$43 million annually, said President Irfaan Ali.
To realise the project Guyana is importing sheep from Barbados. 132, including 20 rams and 112 ewes, arrived last week. Minister Mustapha said 50 per cent of the animal will be distributed to farmers across the country, 30 per cent to women, and another 20 per cent to young people. This means that men will get 50 per cent. No explanation was provided what informed the ratio distribution.
The percentage of female population is 49.67% compared to 50.33% male population. Young people represent two-third of the population. A portion of the animal is promised to be allocated to the differently abled group.
Region Five is targeted for distribution because it is said to be the country’s largest producer of livestock. Region Five (Berbice-Mahaica) is also a region declared in favour of the Government in the 2020 Elections.
The villages in the region are:- Abary, Bel Air, Belladrum, Blairmont (Blairmont Place), Burma, Bush Lot, Catherinas Lust, Cotton Tree, Esau and Jacob, Fort Wellington, Gordon Table, Governor Light, Hopetown, Ithaca, Jacoba, Lichfield (Forty-two), Mahaicony (Mahaicony Village), Mora Point, Moraikobai (Moraikobe), Mortice, Number 4 (Edderton Village), Number 7 (Blairmont), Number 8 (Inverness), Number 9 (Expectation), Number 11 (Woodley Park), Number 40 Village (Seafield, Forty), Number 41 (Forty-one Village), Perth (Perth Village), Pine Ground, Rising Sun, Rosignol, Saint Francis Mission, Saint, John, Tempe, Washington, and Weldaad
One sheep farmer said he hopes villagers in Belladrum, Lichfield, Seafield, Hopetown, Ithaca, No.5, No.8, No. 9 and other African dominated villages will be given equal consideration in the distribution. Another farmer who rears sheep and goats said he hopes those who aren’t in sheep rearing or have the land to do it would be provided the technical support by government and benefit from the project. We are all entitled to a piece of Guyana’s wealth and want our fair share, they said in unison.