–after receiving 30 tractors to boost agriculture
THE government will be working to ensure that all indigenous, hinterland and riverine communities are sustainable and fully equipped to play an integral role in Guyana’s mainstream development. This plan was outlined by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali as he handed over 30 tractors with trailers to several Amerindian communities in Regions One, Two, Four, Five, Six, and Nine.
According to the Head of State, the tractors delivered are merely the first set of 112 pieces of equipment with accompanying implements that were procured via the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs at a cost of $446 million.
“It is our vision to work with our indigenous communities, hinterland communities [and] riverine communities to ensure sustainable development; to ensure sustainable livelihood; to ensure that you are part of the mainstream development of our country,” President Ali told the Amerindian leaders who attended the handing-over ceremony at the Hinterland Scholarship Student Dormitory, Lilliendaal, Greater Georgetown, on Wednesday.
He related that the government’s goal to ensure sustainable development and sustainable livelihood does not only refer to the delivery of goods and services, but also the comprehensive transformation of the country’s human resources.
“Our drive for education is also a critical pathway for the advancement of Amerindian communities,” President Ali reasoned.
He also pointed to the importance of agriculture, and pledged his government’s commitment towards providing greater assistance to farmers.
“In advancing your productive capacity, you need equipment, you need the tools, you need the technology, you need the knowledge, you need technical support so that we can move to different forms of agriculture; so that we can move to high value, sustainable crops, whilst at the same time, supporting the community economy,” the Head of State said.
In referencing the impact of the ongoing floods, President Ali pointed to the importance of farming in a manner that is climate resilient.
“This intervention comes at a critical juncture. The flood disaster has affected all of the country’s 10 administrative regions. It has severely impacted our country’s agricultural sector [and] hinterland agriculture has not been spared,” Dr. Ali related.
He noted, too, that the significant losses of produce and the notable destruction of farmlands have even contributed to the emergence of food shortages in certain areas.
“In some communities, the availability of food remains perilous,” Dr. Ali lamented, adding that in light of the existing challenges, the government will be providing the requisite support for recovery of the sector.
“The agricultural sector remains vital to our people’s livelihood and I want to assure all farmers that we will work with you to restore the sector,” Dr. Ali noted.
More specifically, the President said that the government is committed to ensuring that farmers affected by the recent floods receive increased support such as the provision of planting materials and breeding stock, among other things.
“The horticultural station at Hosororo and Santa Rosa, Moruca, will allow for the availability of planting materials for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers,” the President said.
He noted, too, that Germplasm banks are being established in some communities, and that selected farmers will even be identified for contract breeding of pigs, poultry, and small and large ruminants. Further, the President said: “Tillage and transportation are being improved. We are committed to revitalising agricultural extension services to our hinterland communities. We are boosting the capabilities of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, to improve and to enhance the provision of extension services.”
In addition to farming, President Ali said that the recent floods have also highlighted the need for sustainable housing plans.
“The recent floods taught us that we had to re-look at the entire layout of communities,” Dr. Ali noted.
He expressed pleasure with regard to the willingness of residents and leaders of several riverine communities to establish settlements on higher grounds, where they would have easier, more convenient, and less expensive access to various services.
“We’ll fashion a plan to not only help in the recovery efforts but also ensure it becomes more resilient,” President Ali noted.
He said, too, that the provision of the much-needed tractors is a realisation of one of the many promises that he and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) made to the various communities, ahead of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
“We will deliver every single commitment we made to you during the elections,” the Head of State assured indigenous leaders.
Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, echoed the sentiments of President Ali, noting the government’s seriousness with regard to accelerating the development of Amerindians throughout the country.