SOME $46 million in cheques was distributed to farmers in Cotton Tree and Rosignol villages, West Coast Berbice, on Sunday, as part of the government’s ongoing efforts to help farmers rebuild following the unprecedented nationwide flooding.
During the distribution exercises, beneficiaries spoke of the effects of the flood and the timely intervention by government.
Cash-crop farmer Fizal Mohamed said he had lost all of his produce. In addition, most of his farming equipment and chemicals were damaged by the contaminated floodwaters.
“Well, I am glad that I am getting back something to start back again. I plan on repurchasing seedlings to replant my farm when I collect the money,” Mohamed told the Department of Public Information (DPI).
Another cash-crop farmer Dhiantie Manickram said she had lost over $60,000 in produce through the floods. This is apart from the lemon and coconut trees that collapsed due to the overly saturated soil.
“I feel happy. We might not get back all that we lost, but we are having something back, so I am satisfied with what the government is doing,” she said.
Now that the woman has collected her cheque, she plans on elevating her garden to prevent damage from any future floods.
Large-scale cattle and rice farmer Wazim Shariff, told the DPI that he had lost 22 horses and 58 cows. In addition to this, the farmer indicated that he had lost 200 acres of rice. However, with the relief he collected from the government, Shariff said he will use the money to rebuild his farm.
“I feel good about this relief. I will buy back some livestock and plant back my rice, because that is what we depend on to live,” he said.
Meanwhile, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, who led the distribution, reminded the farmers that the government will continue to work with them, especially in this unparalleled environment.
“We will not make the same mistakes as in the past; that we will continue to come to our people, we will continue engaging you, we will continue to work with you so that you can build a better life.”
The minister encouraged the beneficiaries to use the money wisely, whether it be to liquidate debts or rebuild their farms.
At the two locations, over 380 cheques were distributed. Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, and Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, also conducted similar distribution exercises in Region Five.