$1B being invested to boost agriculture in Lower Pomeroon

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips on Wednesday led an outreach at Charity and villages along the Pomeroon River, Region Two where he interacted with residents and listened to their concerns.

The prime minister was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha and other technical officers.

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

During his address to farmers from Strong Hope Canal, Friendship Canal, and Hackney along the Pomeroon River, the prime minister underscored the extensive developments and substantial investments underway in the Lower Pomeroon River area.

He noted that some $1 billion is earmarked for the area this year.

“This year alone, we will spend $1 billion in the Lower Pomeroon. To date, we have spent $422.3 million in this area. And we have another $588.6 million in ongoing projects that are on target and will be completed before the end of this year,” Prime Minister Phillips disclosed.

Many of these investments are directed towards boosting the agricultural activities within the riverain communities.

Some of the residents of Strong Hope Canal receiving farming implements from Prime Minister Phillips

These include the distribution of farming inputs, dredging of the canals and importation of high value crops.

PM Phillips encouraged the farmers to continue to plant their crops and promised the government’s steadfast support in developing the Pomeroon River as the production hub.

He also informed residents of the government’s aim for leadership within the Caribbean region in energy security and climate resilience.

“In terms of energy security, we are earning money from oil and gas and utilising the money to bridge the energy divide. Climate security is another area, we must showcase to the world that we are a country that can have economic development, while at the same time place high emphasis on the conservation of our environment,” the prime minister explained.

With investments allocated to all three areas, Prime Minister Phillips assured that Guyana will achieve self-sufficiency in the near future and will be able to support its Caribbean counterparts.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha speaks with residents of Hackney

Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha highlighted the significance of the coconut industry in the Pomeroon River and its role in reducing Guyana’s food import bill.

“Recently, we have decided that we have to resuscitate the coconut industry in the Pomeroon. This is an important area for us and so we also recognised that we have to transform the coconut industry. And what we have been doing is importing high yielding Green Brazilian Dwarf coconut plants and we want to plant them here,” the agriculture minister stated.

The three-year growth cycle of these coconut plants enables them to produce high-quality coconut water, oil, and copra.

This variety is estimated to yield 750 millilitres of coconut water and 260 to 300 nuts annually. This production capacity surpasses that of the Guyanese variety, which currently yields approximately 350 to 400 litres of water and 150 coconuts per year.

Some of the residents of Friendship Canal, along the Pomeroon River

“We are working to transform our agriculture sector and to move it from a more labour intensive to a climate smart agriculture industry because we also noticed that climate change is one of the major issues that we are faced with,” Minister Mustapha emphasised.

Additionally, during the outreach, various farming implements such as cutlasses, forks, and shovels were distributed to further support local farmers.