–farmers to benefit from planting material, feed
AGRICULTURE Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha has met with residents and farmers from the village of Enterprise and its environs on the East Coast Demerara to discuss issues faced in their communities. During the meeting, persons who were employed at the Enmore Estate but lost their jobs following the closure of the estate by the previous government engaged the minister about being rehired. The Enmore Estate is one of the estates earmarked for reopening as part of the government’s phased approach to reopening most of the closed estates, a release said.
While offering remarks, Minister Mustapha told those at the meeting that most of the estates will be reopened, but in a phased approach.
“As long as commitments were made, we will fulfill those commitments,” Minister Mustapha said, adding: “We cannot do everything at once, but, rest assured, we will work to deliver assistance to those displaced sugar workers. The Enmore Estate will be reopened, but we cannot open all of the estates at the same time. We also cannot employ everyone at once; as we get production going, we will be able to rehire more persons. The previous administration closed four estates within a year; we are trying to reopen them, but this has to be done in a phased approach. Over the past year, we’ve been putting money into the closed estates to have them reopened, and at the same time, we’ve been putting money into the operating estates to recapitalise and rehabilitate them.” The minister also informed those present that a lot of work has to be done ahead of the reopening of the estates.
“GuySuCo is beyond sugar; as a government, we recognise the importance of sugar and GuySuCo.
Over the last year, we’ve already transferred $10 billion to GuySuCo. We are now working aggressively to reopen Rose Hall, and then the others will follow,” Minister Mustapha said. “For the estates that are currently operational, we have to do a lot of work to make them efficient,” he added. Minister Mustapha also said that assistance will be given to the farmer’s group from the area, after representatives who were present at the meeting made representation on behalf of the group for assistance. Minister Mustapha committed to assisting the group with tools, seeds, planting materials, and fertilisers to assist with their production. Cattle farmers who were also present at the meeting told Minister Mustapha that they were also in need of assistance. One farmer said that many cattle farmers in the area need assistance with molasses and feed for their animals. The farmer explained that the current cost for molasses is too high, and sought the assistance of the minister with providing some for farmers in the community. While responding to the farmer, Minister Mustapha said the ministry, through the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), will be providing farmers with molasses and feed by the end of the week. Residents also raised with the minister issues to do with their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) benefits and improved infrastructure, and his response was that will engage his fellow Cabinet ministers on those matters, so that they can meet with residents with a view to haiving them resolved.