— President outlines plan to improve agriculture in Orealla and Siparuta
GREATER attention will be paid to improving farming and aquaculture in the riverine communities of Orealla and Siparuta, along the Corentyne River, East Berbice, Corentyne.
This commitment was given by President, Dr Irfaan Ali during a visit to the two communities on Saturday. After listening to the concerns of the residents of Siparuta, the President committed to making available 25 acres of land to expand pineapple production.
The President also asked the residents of the two communities to engage youths and women in their plans and said that the Ministry of Agriculture will soon begin to work with farmers to develop the land and increase production.
The residents expressed the need for machinery and equipment to alleviate drainage issues and the President announced that within one week an excavator will be deployed to the communities. A bulldozer will also be made available soon to assist in land clearing.
The residents also called for the construction of a plant nursery in Orealla and the President committed to building one, with labour and material sourced in the locale.
“These are two things that I’m very strong on in developing: the food production system of our country; so let me tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to make the money available, we’re going to use the local skills and local material here that you can build the nursery here in Orealla to support the farmers; so you requested a nursery, we’re going to do it,” he said.
He also said that the government will work with the residents to promote aquaculture and to get things on stream before year end.
On that note, he urged the Ministry of Agriculture to work with the residents and provide the necessary support for the production of Basha and Tilapia.
“This area has tremendous potential for farming, especially aquaculture as was said and I’m very, very pleased to see so many of you engage in this these discussions because the food production system must be improved but in farming and bringing these groups together you have to promise me a few things and I’m going to work with you. I want at least 50 per cent of the farms be owned by young people below 40 years old and I want at least 35 per cent of the farms to be managed by women… we have to look long-term. This is a long-term industry, so we are going to ask the Ministry of Agriculture to work with you in having five marine cages; marine cage is what they use now around the world to grow the fish in its natural environment, so the Basha out there, we got the small ones; we will make it easier and we have more guaranteed production,” he said.
He added: “We will also work with the aquaculture industry for Tilapia. Right now we have market for Tilapia that can take off as much Tilapia as we can produce, so we will have to work out a price that is long term… the Ministry of Agriculture will sit with you, we’ll make a machine available, we will do the ponds and you have the creek, so you come here and do all the technical work so that we can build the aquaculture industry here in Orealla. You will get support. These things will start, all of these things I’m talking about to start before the end of the year.”
The President was accompanied by Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha; Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai; Local Government Minister, Nigel Dharamlall; and regional officials, among others. The objective of the visit was to listen to the concerns of the residents and provide solutions to them.