Agri-ministry to award ‘non-cash grants’ to small farmers affected by COVID-19 pandemic

recipients based on need assessment conducted by Extension Officers

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Ministry of Agriculture will soon be distributing non-cash grants to small scale farmers throughout Guyana, to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aid will be awarded to individuals based on a need analysis conducted by Extension Officers working in the various districts, and who are familiar with the farmers daily operations.

“This is not cash to give away. This is based on the observed needs and the needs of the farmers themselves. We will lend support in that regards,” Chief Technical Officer, George Jervis explained during an interview with DPI, on Sunday.

He said the aid is not only restricted to planting materials and livestock but that the ministry is also exploring “some new things.”

In cases where the ‘black giant poultry’ rearing project is ongoing in Regions one and nine, Jervis disclosed, that even amid the global pandemic, the ministry aims to expand the production.

He noted too, that there will be instances where several farmers will benefit from one piece of equipment.

“You may find four farmers doing the same thing in close proximity and they need a water pump. We probably buy one and have the four individual share it, since the budget does not allow for the purchase of four individual pumps.”

The Ministry is aiming to target approximately 4000 individuals across Guyana.  However, Jervis noted that amount may increase especially since the ministry is also tasked with reaching out to migrants in Region One.

The Technical Officer disclosed that the Agriculture Ministry is currently working to accomplish four components – assistance to small farmers within vulnerable communities; kitchen garden support to the vulnerable public servants and community households; small farms support package and the livestock initiative.

The objective he noted is to increase the productivity of farmers.

He explained that while the Ministry awaits the green light from its loan partners to utilise available funds, the field officers are out daily gathering the necessary data to determine who qualify for assistance.

“We still have to deal with how the farmers will get seeds, fertilizers, and in the case of poultry farmers, how will they acquire baby chicks,” Jervis explained.

According to the Chief Technical Officer, all the agencies within the Agriculture Ministry stand ready to lend technical support to all stakeholders.

The ministry has also prioritised lending support to transportation for its field staff, the senior officer noted.

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