AGRICULTURE Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, on Wednesday, directed the distribution exercise for the government’s ongoing flood-relief distribution exercise in several villages in Region One (Barima Waini). At the end of the exercise, farmers from the three villages benefitted from over $10 million worth of flood relief, with each farmer receiving $100,000 to assist with resuscitating their cultivation.
Farmers from Arakaka, Matthew’s Ridge, and Baramita turned up in their numbers to the various distribution sites, anxious to receive the relief grant that was promised to them by His Excellency, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, after the country had experienced extensive flooding brought on by the extended May-June rainy period earlier this year.
During Wednesday’s distribution exercise, Minister Mustapha told farmers and residents that the government remains committed to ensuring those who were affected by flooding and as a result suffered losses, received assistance to return to the land as soon as possible.
“Today, we are here to fulfil a commitment that was made by the President. When this government makes a commitment, we take it very seriously and try as much as possible to deliver on those commitments. All the 10 Administrative Regions of our country were affected by flooding. Thousands of farmers across the country lost their livelihoods. We made a commitment to assist farmers with some form of assistance so that they can have the necessary resources to help them to return to the land as soon as possible. The government has invested $7.8 billion in this programme because we understand the importance of investing in the lives of the citizens of this country. As a government, we will also ensure that all Guyanese benefit from what the government has to offer so you can rest assured that, under this government, your future is secure,” Minister Mustapha said.
Minister Mustapha also told farmers that the ministry will also provide farmers with additional support in the form of seeds, fertilisers, Acoushi Ant bait, and other planting materials as part of the relief efforts.
Farmers who were present expressed thanks to the government for the assistance and said that they will use the monies to purchase materials to revive their farms.
Richard Williams, a farmer from Arakaka, while recounting his experiences during the flood, said that the distribution exercise shows that the government has not forgotten the people of Region One.
“I am a cash crop farmer. That is how I make my living. This flood mash up everything. I lost sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin, eddoes, banana, and a lot of other things. Today, the government has extended this help to us and I want to thank them because they haven’t forgotten us. They haven’t forgotten the people in Region One and I want to really thank the President and the minister for this help,” the farmer said.
Although the region is primarily involved in logging and mining, the government, since taking office last August, has signalled its commitment to developing the region’s agriculture sector.
In addition to a packaging facility that is currently being constructed in Mabaruma to assist farmers with adding value to their produce, farmers are now able to access enhanced services after the ministry made available two all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and a boat and engine to boost its extension capabilities earlier this year. (DPI)