President Dr Irfaan Ali moments ago announced several billion dollars in relief assistance for citizens and farmers who were affected by the recent floods that devastated communities in all 10 regions of Guyana.
During a live Address to the Nation, the Head of State outlined the assistance that would be given to various categories of households and farmers affected by the floods
Some 52,000 households were affected, that is, homestead farms, kitchen gardens, households exclusive of kitchen gardens and homestead farms.
In these categories, farmers within the homestead category would receive $100,000 each.
Kitchen garden farmers will get $50,000 each, while households without any gardens that were affected by the floods would also receive $50,000 each.
The combined assistance to homestead farmers, kitchen-gardens and households in these categories is in excess of $3.5 billion.
With regards to the rice sector, where 50,000 acres of farmlands of some 2000 farmers were directly affected, assistance was also announced by the Head of State.
This includes $80,000 per acre for rice that was ready to harvest but was lost in the floods; $65,000 per acre for rice sowed and lost in the autumn crops; and $45,000 per acre for land that was completely prepared but was not sowed.
In addition to this support to farmers, government will be distributing 60,000 bags of seed paddy.
This assistance to rice farmers amounted to more than $3.2 billion.
For the livestock industry, government’s assistance would be in four categories: subsistence farmers, small farmers, medium farms and large-scale farmers.
According to President Ali, more than 2000 farmers were affected by the floods and as such, will benefit from over $600 million in direct transfer. In addition to this, the Ministry of Agriculture through the Guyana Livestock and Development Authority will be conducting a series of works and provide services amounting to some $500 million.
The Head of State explained, however, that whilst some large rice and poultry farmers were affected by the floods, the assistance to individual farmers would not exceed $10 million.
Further added to these support, ongoing infrastructural works will continue to rebuild dams, farm to market access roads, hinterland road, community roads, drainage systems and other infrastructure destroyed during these floods.
“I am aware that this assistance will go a long way in bringing relief. However, it can never compensate for the emotional and social loss which I saw and experienced firsthand. I assure you that this government will continue to work on an aggressive national drainage plan in the context of climate change so as to mitigate further climate events and disasters,” President Ali stated.
These monetary reliefs are being made from a $10 billion supplementary funding that the government secured from the National Assembly last month.