– Commissions first solar electrical system
COMPLIMENTS of the New Zeeland government, the Central Mahaicony Perth Village Farmers’ Association received a precious gift of a Solar Electrical System to help them reduce their cost of production, especially for the making of hams and sausages, which they have been advancing over a number of years now.
This farmers’ association has been in existence since 2005, with a membership of approximately 35 farm families. The farmers are engaged in both crop and livestock based activities.
This association was formed and gained momentum when, as a result of unusual heavy downpour of rainfall, coupled with severe flooding, most of their crops and livestock were lost. The major economic activity for many people within these communities is farming.
Farmers had, for many years become accustomed to rainfall patterns that were considered seasonal, for example, the May/June and year-end (mostly two wet seasons and two dry seasons.) However, in the more recent years, farmers have begun to experience a different type of weather pattern – one in which they can hardly anticipate whether it will rain or not… climate change.
This association has been one of the more successful agricultural groups in Guyana. And, through the diligence and sustainable governance, the group has attracted and has benefitted from a number of funding activities.
They boast an acquired marketing and processing outlet which was upgraded with the assistance of Food for the Poor (Guyana) Inc. and has recently installed a 3.36 kilowatt stand-alone solar electrical system, under a project entailed sustainable rural farmer and alternative energy use, funded by the Government and people of New Zealand with technical assistance from IICA.
This solar electrical system will assist the association greatly to reduce their cost of production, especially for processing activities in terms of the making of ham and sausages.
“There will be a definite reduction in the cost of electricity, which would translate into less input and a definite increase in output in terms of cost of production in the goods that we generate,” Violet Henry, Chairman of the Association stated.
Meanwhile, Arnold DeMendonca, Rural Development Specialist of IICA, whose role in the project was pivotal, stated that it was a very happy day for him and his organisation (IICA), since they always had the desires of Perth-Mahaicony at heart.
He reminisced on some of the difficulties the group had, to the point of feeling to give up, as they were working towards acquiring the solar system they now have in their possession.
He, therefore, urged the members to continue to strive only for excellence and encouraged them to not only take care of their newly acquired solar system but also to make every effort to improve on what they already have.
Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food for the Poor (Guyana), the regional council, the Salvation Army within the community and other local representatives also spoke words of encouragement to the farmers as they prepared to celebrate the day.
Pork Folk festival
As part of the day’s activities, the association celebrated their annual pork folk festival, which started soon after the group was established. There were on sale a variety of farmers’ produce, agro-processed items, and a variety of foods, cakes, pastries, coconut water, prepared and bottled within the group, drinks and other products.
The emphasis was deliberately placed on pork and pork products, which were prepared by members of the association. Gloria Adams, considered the matriarch of the group, led the way with her preparation of ham, bacon and other pork products.
For Adams, pig farming has become one of her main farming activities, though she also rears some amount of chicken. Therefore, on this occasion, like with other farmers’ folk festival within the community, she had on display many of the end-products that she would prepare from the pig. There was pork, ham (smoked, baked and treated in a variety of ways), and there was also sausages.
Additionally, there was pork pepperpot, pork stewed, curried pork and pork in every possible form – some as samples and other items for sale.
The Perth-Mahaicony farmers’ folk festival was reported as being of tremendous success and while members of the association continue to work hard and shine as farmers, they are also saying that the next such event cannot come fast enough for them to do even better than the last time.