Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has announced that select single mothers from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) will soon benefit from the receipt of black giant chickens which they can use to their economic benefit.
This announcement was made when the Agriculture and Natural Resources Ministers, Zulfikar Mustapha and Vickram Bharrat respectively, held a community meeting on Wednesday at Bloomfield, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
According to Minister Mustapha, the black giant chicken project would benefit all single mothers in the Whim/Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
He said each recipient would receive 25 baby chicks.
“We can even extend it to Alness. From Alness to Bloomfield – all the single mothers. A lot of people during the flood relief conned the process, so we have to be careful,” he said.
The villages that are added to this programme include Lancaster, Liverpool, Ulverston, Manchester and Alness.
Recognising that poor drainage and irrigation is a recurring issue for residents, the Minister committed to spending $42M to clean drains in communities within the NDC, and a further $35M to look after the drains in the cultivation area.
Meanwhile, during the outreach, the Minister also listened to, and addressed, various concerns of the residents. One resident pointed out that after years of agitating to have the street in which she lives upgraded from a mud surface to asphalt, rice farmers have started using its surface to dry their paddy. She said they did so for the last two crops.
“They take over the whole street, and there is nowhere to walk. At one time they cut the electric wire and did not report it, and another time they cut the telephone wire and took off the internet. I was without internet for five days, and I have online classes,” she bemoaned.
This resident said she had approached the Whim/Bloomfield NDC questioning the use of the road by rice farmers to dry their paddy. “The NDC told me that in this area there is no drying floor for the farmers. I am simply asking if there are plans to have a drying floor for the rice farmers in this area to dry their paddy.”
The Agriculture Minister, acknowledging that there is no such facility in the community, said he would have his technical staff try to locate suitable land and build a drying flood for paddy with funds from the 2023 National Budget.
Another farmer said he was in need of improved swine breed, and asked for two animals. His request was granted, as the Minister committed the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), which is an arm of the Agriculture Ministry, to give the farmer one of the breed of animals he was requesting.
Several other requests were granted to farmers on the spot as the Minister reminded them of the importance the Peoples Progressive Party Administration is putting on agriculture. He also reminded them that while in Opposition, the previous Government had made a lot of promises to assist the farming community, including rice farmers, but after taking office, the then head of State, David Granger, had told rice farmers that rice is private business and had given them no support.
He also pointed out that even though the Coalition, before taking office, had also promised not to close any sugar estate, they did the opposite soon after taking office.
He promised to be back in the community early next year.