Agri Minister spearheads flood relief grant distribution to Region Nine villages

Minister of Agriculture Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday took the government’s flood relief grant to Shea, Maruranau and Awarewaunau indigenous farming villages in Region Nine.

The relief initiative, which was launched a few months ago, aims to help farmers return to the land following the severe effects of the nationwide flooding. So far, more than $2 billion has been distributed to farmers.

Minister of Agriculture Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha presents a cheque to a farmer

“Today is important for us because it is a day that we are coming here to fulfil one of the promises that were made by His Excellency, the President. And when we make promises we always deliver on those promises and we take them very seriously.”

During meetings with villagers, Minister Mustapha underscored the significance of farmers in Guyana. He stated that agriculture is important and that the government is keen on transforming the sector, even in the face of the oil and gas sector. Minister Mustapha was keen to remind too, that Guyana has taken up the role to lead agriculture not just in Guyana, but the entire Caribbean.

“Our President is the lead spokesperson in the Caribbean on agriculture. We are chairing the ministerial task force to advance the agriculture agenda in the Caribbean so you can see that Guyana’s role today is very important.”

In June, President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had urged the eleventh meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) to prioritise the work of the ministerial taskforce and was frank in his opening remarks to say that he will move forward with those who are serious about getting the work done.

Minister of Agriculture Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha poses with recipients of the flood relief cheques.

The Head of State had iterated that in order to take the CARICOM Agri-Food System Strategy forward, the implementation plans identified priority commodities such as poultry, other meats (beef, pork and mutton), corn, rice, niche vegetables and coconut products. The President had stated that CARICOM has the ability to achieve the targets identified to lower these priority commodity imports by 2025 and the potential to increase coconut exports.

Further to this, President Ali is convinced that Guyana can satisfy the food demands of the entire Caribbean, whose regional food import bill is $5 billion. The PPP/C Government has already begun expanding and preparing farmers and other stakeholders agriculture sector to benefit from this opportunity.  

Notably, news of the construction of three agro-processing facilities for this Indigenous district (Aishalton, Karaudarnau, Achawib and Bashraizon) was announced by the agriculture minister on Saturday.

He shared too that all of the villages in Region Nine will soon receive cassava mills.