Agriculture sector weathers storm
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Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, recently inspected pumps following the country wide floods
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, recently inspected pumps following the country wide floods

–proves strength, resilience amid torrential showers, pandemic woes
DESPITE the challenges brought on by climate change, the above-average rainfall experienced countrywide over the past few weeks, and the resultant flooding, Guyana’s Agriculture sector has managed to stay afloat.
This is largely due to the emphasis placed on the development of the agriculture sector by the Government of Guyana, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture.
While a significant number of crops and livestock were lost during the floods, the Ministry of Agriculture was able to provide some relief to farmers and other agriculture stakeholders. The ministry also received funds to mitigate the effects of the floods.
The Government of Japan has made approximately US$1 million available to boost Guyana’s National Flood Early Warning System.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, said that the recent flooding has highlighted the need for an effective National Flood Early Warning System.
He further said that in order to develop a full-fledged Flood Early Warning System, significant human, technical and capital investments are required.
In an effort to maximise its performance and increase the country’s drainage and irrigation capacity, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) had commissioned seven excavators.

The new excavators will greatly assist in NDIA’s efforts to boost Guyana’s drainage and irrigation system

These excavators, which were supplied by Farm Supplies Limited at a total cost of $125,300,000 will add to the NDIA’s current fleet that is currently spread out across the country.
While offering remarks at the commissioning, Minister Mustapha said that the recently acquired pieces of machinery will be used to complement NDIA’s efforts to boost the country’s drainage and irrigation system.
“These pieces of machinery will add to the fleet that we already have, complementing NDIA’s efforts to boost the country’s drainage and irrigation system. We recently witnessed, and, in some areas, we are still witnessing, unprecedented levels of rainfall.
“During this time, our capabilities were put to the test. I can safely say, given the amount of rainfall that fell over the last two months, the NDIA should be complimented for executing its duties around the country,” Minister Mustapha said.

Some 95 per cent of the drainage responsibility in the country rests on the shoulders of the NDIA and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Further, in May, during a virtual United Nations (UN) Food Systems forum, Mustapha disclosed that an amount exceeding $800 million had been earmarked for six agro-processing facilities.
He related that these facilities are slated to be established in farming communities, notably Aranaputa and St. Ignatius in Region Nine, Black Bush Polder in Region Six, and Leguan in Region Three; and further committed to replicating these efforts in Regions Two and 10.
The minister told the UN forum that the government’s investment in agriculture remains aligned with the global agenda to ensure sustainability of the world food system, especially in light of growing threats such as climate change and other factors that have resulted in continued food loss and wastage.
He pointed to the importance of pursuing value-added initiatives, which will lessen the loss and wastage of agricultural produce, including fruits and vegetables.
Moreover, the agro-processing facilities are expected to be a mere component of the administration’s plan to establish industrial estates/parks in various parts of the country, commencing with Regions Two and 10.

Additionally, taking up its place in CARICOM as the lead on agriculture, the Government of Guyana has been aggressively promoting and supporting investment in, and development of the agriculture sector.
In addition to rice and sugar production, focus is now being placed on the cultivation of non-traditional and high-earning commodities.
One such industry is the coconut industry. Since taking office, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has moved to develop the sector by ensuring proper planting materials are easily accessible to farmers across the country.
Last year, as part of the Hope Coconut Industries Limited’s (HCIL) emergency budgetary allocation, two new coconut nurseries were established; one at Kairuni on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway and the other in Charity, Region Two.
The Agriculture Ministry has since announced plans to establish six additional nurseries across the country during this year.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) recently handed over a number of seeds and planting materials to the Ministry of Agriculture to assist with the government’s flood-relief efforts.
The items will be distributed to farmers who suffered losses as a result of the recent flooding, a release said.

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