Agri. minister commits to assisting Ann’s Grove farmers with drainage, other issues

On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister, Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha along with a team of officers from the Ministry of Agriculture returned to Ann’s Grove village on the East Coast of Demerara to meet with farmers and community members to discuss issues they are facing.

The meeting comes days after the minister, Prime Minister, Mark Phillips, and other Cabinet Members met with residents at a community outreach as part of the government’s efforts to effectively address issues faced in communities across the country.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha while addressing the meeting

Farmers from Ann’s Grove, Clonbrook, Bee Hive, and other surrounding villages used the opportunity to raise issues related to drainage, access to breeding animals, markets for their produce, and other inputs to advance farming in their communities.

Minister Mustapha, while addressing farmers said that the government has been aggressively working to ensure every village’s agriculture potential is realised. He noted that every community has a role to play and that resources will be made available to assist every farmer across the country.

A section of the meeting

While speaking on issues raised, Minister Mustapha said that the ministry through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance drainage and irrigation infrastructure in farming communities across the country.

He also noted that the works being requested by residents will be done but it has to be undertaken in an organised manner.

“All the D&I issues that were raised; we will do a work programme to guide the process. The engineers will visit all the areas to do an assessment. We’ll do a work programme so that we can decide which canals are a priority and we’ll do those ones first. I can assure you, that shortly, as soon as the work programme is done we start those works.

“I made a commitment last Saturday that we will deal with your drainage issues. I’ve asked NDIA to look at it and they’ve already started to do some work to ensure systems are being put in place to address those issues,” he noted.

A resident raising an issue

In terms of access to markets for produce, Minister Mustapha said there are readily available markets for Guyana’s produce in the region.

“GMC has an obligation to help farmers to get markets for their produce. I’m in constant contact with Ministers of Agriculture from across the region; countries like Trinidad and Barbados; and they are requesting fresh produce from Guyana. So, there are ready markets in the Caribbean for our farmers’ produce. We’ve also been working to remove those non-tariff barriers that affected exports to those countries so we’ll work with you to find markets,” the minister explained.

Farmers present also benefitted from fertilisers and other inputs to assist with their farming activities.