Ramesh Shibsahai: The farmer promoting tourism
Farmer and operator of the Mahaica River Birding Tours at Little Biaboo
Farmer and operator of the Mahaica River Birding Tours at Little Biaboo

WHILE farming may be the main economic activity in Little Biaboo, Mahaica River, a number of expansions are expected in order to promote tourism in the area.

Ramesh Shibsahai, 59, who operates the Mahaica River Birding Tours, in a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle, revealed that as the effects of the pandemic on businesses are eased, major expansions are planned for the touring company.

Shibsahai, who was born in West Coast Berbice and later settled in Biaboo, got his start in farming from an early age after following in his father’s footsteps.

“I start with my father in the farm and I assist him in farming, rice cultivation, love the rice cultivation from since small days,” he revealed.

As a result, he went on to continue rice and cash crop farming and still does to this day even as he simultaneously operates the River Tour company.

Giving a brief overview, Shibsahai stated that he has been operating the company for over 15 years and as such conducts bird-sighting tours along the river, fishing tours, along with boating services.

To this end, he noted that over the years, business has been fairly well aside from the sudden stop occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic actually brought it [business] real down, now actually some people coming in, a lot of people visiting; a lot of people interested in the fishing,” he told the Chronicle.

While he mentioned that more persons are now interested in the fishing aspect of the tour, some changes need to be made as it relates to the way other fishermen operate in the river. Shibsahai mentioned that a number of fishermen usually drop their nets in areas to trap the fish.

He added that these nets kill all of the fish and the seamen just take what they want and discard the others which hinder the growth of the fish population.

A section of the new deck that is being constructed (Shamar Meusa photo)

If there is some regulation as it relates to fishing, like just allowing persons to fish using the hook and rod method, there would be an increase in the population of fish.

“It will help a lot and it will attract tourists more because most of we tourist come in, they go and fish and they don’t actually take the fish, they just catch and release,” he said.

Meanwhile, as it relates to the other aspects of the tour, Shibsahai told the Guyana Chronicle that in the river, over some 150 different species of birds have been identified.

On regular tours, some 35 to 50 different bird species are easily noticeably.

“We get some chance to see the river otters, we get the howler monkeys, we got a few different monkeys and so on too and the main attraction here is the national bird — the Canje Pheasant,” Shibsahai told this publication.

As it relates to the expansion of the business, a new waterfront deck was being constructed. The construction of the deck will allow for guests of the tour to enjoy meals on the waterfront before or after going on the tours.

“Well, I find that a lot of my guests them love the waterfront, who coming on the tours and so on and actually with the bird tours, we have a breakfast with the bird tours and a lot of people actually like the waterfront, so I’m actually doing that deck so people can actually sit and have breakfast and so on there,” he noted.

With that, the tour operator and farmer related that as the pandemic woes subside, further expansions are expected. The addition of cabins to the waterfront are expected as well.

“We want to actually put in two cabins later on too; if I develop and look at the business and see how it goes, I expand from there as well,” said Shibsahai.

With the further expansions, growth of tourism in the Biaboo area is expected.


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