During a recent visit to Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini), Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha announced plans to improve the village’s human resource capacity by offering two scholarships to eligible persons to study at the Guyana School of Agriculture.
Minister Mustapha made the disclosure while speaking about the Ministry’s move to revamp its extension services.
“I am working on revamping the entire extension arm of the Ministry and the entire agriculture department in Region One. We are now looking to take young people from the community. We will train them and give them a stipend so that they can work with the farmers by offering extension services. Today, I’m pledging two scholarships for White Water village. If you can identify those persons, we will train them at the Guyana School of Agriculture. When they are finished, they will be able to return to their community with the skills to help the farmers with extension services,” Minister Mustapha announced.
In addition to the scholarships, Minister Mustapha also told farmers that, through his ministry, two shade houses will be built to assist farmers with their production.
“The ministry will also give this village two shade houses. We’ll build the shade houses for the community so that the farmers can benefit. We’ll work along with the village Toshao to get those shade houses build as soon as possible,” Minister Mustapha added.
While highlighting some of the long-term development plans for the region, Minister Mustapha told farmers that the Ministry will be providing a range of services to farmers starting with the construction of an agro-processing facility.
“We are investing $10 million to build an agro-processing facility in Mabaruma. The farmers in this community, rather than going directly to the market, when that facility is completed, can take their produce there. Our staff will help you to properly package your produce, and also assist you with finding markets. Before the end of the year, that facility will come into being. The government is also putting systems in place to improve the transport services to and from the region. With the ferry service that is currently in place, farmers will be able to send their produce to other regions. Farmers can also look forward to similar services being offered as time progresses. The ministry, through the New Guyana Marketing Corporation, will help secure markets for your produce,” Minister Mustapha said.
He also told farmers that since taking office, the Ministry had resumed the distribution of inputs like seeds and Acoushi ant bait.
“We are now working with farmers to make their crop more value-added. Over the years, most farmers have been doing subsistence farming. Farmers’ crops are dying, Acoushi ants have been damaging their crops, you are not getting the kinds of chemicals you need or ants’ bait to save your crops. Since the PPP/C government took office, we’ve resumed our seed and Acoushi ants’ bait distribution exercise. Farmers are now receiving these things free of cost,” Minister Mustapha explained.
He also told farmers that similar projects are being explored for the village come 2022.
Each of the communities visited during the outreach benefited from a number of tools, seeds, chemicals, bongo pumps, packets of Acoushi ant bait, and other planting materials. [Ministry of Agriculture press release]