REHABILITATION works of the Onverwagt main access road in the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agriculture Development Authority (MMA-ADA) Scheme has commenced. A total of five kilometres of the dam will be upgraded to an all-weather road and, once completed, would service over 12,000 acres of farmland and further heighten production in the scheme.
The contract, which was awarded to Romell Jagroop General Construction Services, is being executed at a sum of $328 million.
Back in January, the Ministry of Agriculture hosted a sod turning exercise to signify the commencement of the project.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, said his ministry was moving aggressively with resuscitating the sector, adding that the government ‘means business’ when it comes to Guyana realising its full agricultural potential.
The sod-turning exercise for this project was held in January. Since, a series of tests and preliminary works have been conducted.
“Since taking office, persons in the area had expressed their dissatisfaction with the condition of the road and appealed to government for some amount of relief. We know for a fact that the road is in a deplorable state and is impassable, especially during the rainy season. As a result of this, huge acreages of cultivated lands being inaccessible and this has affected the production of the farmers in the Scheme.
“If, as a government, we are looking to double agriculture production by 2025, then we have to ensure farmers face the necessary infrastructure to access their lands. The government is very much interested in agriculture development in Guyana and will continue to invest heavily in infrastructure and other agents of agricultural development, not only in the MMA Scheme, but all across the country,” Minister Mustapha said.
The minister also said farmers can expect greater improvements in the infrastructure with the passage of the 2021 National Budget.
“As you know, we are currently in the process of debating the 2021 National Budget. I presented a $22.6 billion budget proposal for the Ministry of Agriculture last Wednesday. Twelve billion of that will go towards infrastructural development such as the construction and maintenance of drainage and irrigation structures and farm-to-market access roads.
“These works will be executed in all the agriculture producing regions of the country. With the renewed interest we are seeing in the sector because of the interventions of Budget 2020, farmers can look forward to more projects, and an overall proactive approach to dealing with issues of the sector. I believe that with Budget 2021, agriculture and the economy as a whole, will take off,” Minister Mustapha said.
The contract is expected to be completed before the end of August 2021. (DPI)