THE distribution of the government’s flood relief grant, which began last week, is expected to benefit some 52,000 farmers countrywide.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, said Wednesday that the flood relief packages are aimed at assisting farmers to restart cultivation as soon as possible.
The distribution exercise started in Region Six and will continue in other regions during the course of this week.
Minister Mustapha said that persons selected for the grants were assessed by the various agencies which fall under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture, on a case-by-case basis. “This assessment was done by the various agencies, the GLDA, NAREI, Guyana Rice Development Board. Those three agencies were responsible. We have hundreds of extension officers across the country, they went to various locations and they generated a list of those persons who were affected severely,” Minister Mustapha said. The minister noted that persons must meet certain criteria to receive the grants.
“A number of persons turned up feeling that this thing is for everybody but this is not for everybody. This is for farmers who would have lost and where the assessment was done and we’re giving it in various categories,” Minister Mustapha clarified. The flood relief grants fall under various categories such as household, livestock and the rice sector. Minister Mustapha said the government has also allocated funds for other materials including 60,000 bags of seed paddy, planting materials and other genetic supplies to further assist farmers in getting back to their lands. “So, all in all, there is a comprehensive package but I want to clear the misconception that not every household will receive it or every family will receive it… This package is for persons who have lost and their losses were assessed by the extension officers in these categories,” the minister related. He said the government is catering to the needs of all citizens. So, persons living in interior communities, who do not have access to banks, will receive their grants in cash, rather than cheques. He said the Auditor General’s office and other agencies will be scrutinising the process to ensure there is transparency. (DPI)