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|Members of the Plaisance Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership recently met with Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Zulfikar Mustapha seeking the ministry’s guidance in developing a section of their compound for agricultural purposes.
Ms. Alison Wilson-Hetsberger, one of the church’s directors, said given the emphasis being placed on developing Guyana’s agriculture sector and the government’s call for organisations to get involved, the leadership decided to utilise some of the land it has available to develop an agriculture programme.
In a meeting Sunday with the church leadership, the minister not only commended the church for taking the initiative to get involved in agriculture but see their involvement as part of Guyana playing its role in ensuring regional food security. Heads of Government in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have committed to reduce the Region’s Import Food Bill by 25 per cent by 2025. Presently that bill is conservatively estimated to be between US$8 to US$10 Billion per year.
This is not the first time Guyana has attempted to push food security. The present pushed by the government is an iteration of the Forbes Burnham government’s Food, Clothe and House Programme of the 1970s. During that period several efforts were made to drive agriculture including the ‘Land to the Tiller’ Programme.
Minister Mustapha promised the church that teams from the Ministry of Agriculture will be returning to the site during the week to see what is needed and develop a plan of action to move the process forward.
Wilson-Hetsberger pointed out that “Plaisance would’ve answered the call of the President and the minister (of agriculture) to get involved in agriculture. We planned a project and began the process of putting together a proposal to commence our shadehouse project. We’ve already commenced part of the process and received assistance in the form of virtual training from NAREI. We also partnered with the UNDP to get this project going. We are happy that the minister is here and look forward to partnering with the ministry to get this project going.”
On the other hand, there are Guyanese at Wales on the East Bank of Demerara who are desirous of playing a role in the national agriculture drive. Unfortunately, they are facing an uphill task given recent efforts by the government to prevent access to their farms. Read more on their challenges in story “Despite Court ruling Govt can’t evict persons off land, bridges have been removed to hinder access to farms and harvest”