The Ministry of Agriculture will inject some $ 50 million into Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Essequibo Upper) to boost agriculture in the area.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha spoke about his ministry’s plans for the region during a recent engagement with members of the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and officials of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in Region Nine. The minister said Region Nine has the potential to make significant contributions to Guyana’s evolving agricultural sector. His advantage over other areas, he said, is the availability of vast lands for farming investments. “We don’t want 50 acres and 25 acres. The ministry is pushing for large-scale farming and we will assist with incentives, technical advice and other things necessary to help you along this path. “We want a prosperous agricultural sector that will create wealth, we want a sector that will create employment opportunities, and most importantly, we want an agricultural sector to create food security,” said the agriculture minister.
To this end, Minister Mustapha said that a committee will be set up to ensure maximum services are provided to farmers in the region. Committee members will include all regional extension officers and representatives of the various local organs. Already, he has directed the RDP to lead the region’s agricultural operations.
The minister said he supported timely decisions, as the traditional process of writing and waiting for responses from the ministry’s head office could cause some delays. The government’s focus is to make Guyana realize its potential as a Caribbean bread basket. Further, Minister Mustapha tweeted that CARICOM is spending close to US $ 60 billion to source agricultural produce outside the region. He said Guyana can make good use of its free trade agreement with CARICOM and sell its products.
“That’s where these agro-processing facilities come in, which will help farmers develop their products, package their products, and also find markets for their products. These are things we will be working on, ”the minister added. He referred to the vision of the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali for Guyana, which is producing its own feed for the poultry industry, and urged residents to take advantage of the services the ministry offers to promote corn and soybean growing. About $ 500 million has been allocated in the 2021 Budget for this initiative. (DPI)