Agriculture Ministry reintroduces ‘Public Day’ to address needs of farmers

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Agriculture Ministry has moved forward with the reintroduction of public day engagements via appointments only.

This decision was taken by Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha in keeping with coronavirus protocols designed to reduce the number of persons gathering at the Ministry. However, he acknowledged that these engagements must continue to address the needs of farmers.

It is an initiative which was discontinued after the APNU/AFC coalition assumed office in 2015 but has now been revived under the new PPP/C administration.

“We have to engage our farmers even during the pandemic. I met with my officers and we’ve decided to meet with farmers by appointments only. The public days are nothing new. It was discontinued by the previous Minister but I know the importance of these meetings so I’ve decided to reintroduce the programme in a way where the COVID-19 guidelines are followed,” Mustapha said.

Minister Mustapha further informed that the meetings will be held every Wednesday at the Ministry’s Head Office, with the first meeting taking place on August 26.. Farmers interested in scheduling an appointment are asked to call his office on 227-5049 or send a text or WhatsApp message to 694-6878. Anyone who visits the Ministry is asked to wear a mask, and follow all other COVID19 guidelines.

Just a few days ago, the new Minister met with farmers in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) with a team including officials from the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA); the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the fisheries sector.

Meetings were held with farmers at Foulis, Seafield, Kingelly, Bush Lot, Bath Settlement, Cotton Tree and Blairmont. Addressing concerns at Foulis where farmers complained of poor drainage and irrigation, cattle rustling and called for the reintroduction of manual labour to clear canals.