Clonbrook/Bee Hive/Ann’s Grove farmers engage Agri. Minister

Residents of Clonbrook, Bee Hive and Ann’s Grove on the East Coast Demerara, today, met with Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha during an outreach to Clonbrook.

It was during the Ministry’s farmers’ open last Friday, that a group of farmers from Clonbrook met with the subject Minister to discuss challenges in the community.   Minister Mustapha committed to visiting the village to speak with the farming community from the three areas to devise a plan to address their issues.

Mr. Ramesh Maniram, Chairman for the Clonbrook Farmers’ Group, said that farmers in the area need help to improve their cultivation.

“If we can get some spray cans, motor blowers and weeders, cutlass and so, that would help to develop farming. If we can get seeds also. We have like 100 or 200 acres of low land from the western side of Clonbrook and the farmers asked if they can get an excavator to crown the land to plant coconuts. We got the machine to fix a part of it but the machine had to leave and go to another part. If we get a fixed time, like an hour for each acre, we can produce more coconuts. Also, the koker at Clonbrook, it needs maintenance,” he said.

Mr. Chanderpaul Ramsaroop, a farmer, said that he is having issues with his coconut cultivation.

“There are different disease that are really hampering our coconuts, especially the plants. We need a better price for our crops, especially the coconut. We ask for security from thieves on the farm them, especially coconut, mango and sapodilla. Whatsoever help you can give, we’d be very thankful. And finally, we need market and farm road at Clonbrook middle walk dam,” he said.

Mr. Ariff Baksh, another farmer, said that cattle farmers need assistance with feed and improved breeding stock.

“There’s a shortage of feed for animals in the area. The truck is not coming into Ann’s Grove. We’d also like access to better breeds of animals through the Livestock Development Authority.

In responding to these concerns, Minister Mustapha committed to working with the farmers to have their issues addressed.

“I was just informed by Dr. Walrond, who is the Deputy CEO of the GLDA, that farmers who want to feed from Banks DIH can go to GLDA’s office and get a permit to purchase the feed. The farmer who raised the issue with better prices for produce like fruits and coconut, I want to let you know that we are revamping the mandate of the New Guyana Marketing Corporation, so that they can work with farmers to find favourable markets for their produce. Those of you who are having issues with coconut diseases, NAREI will be working with you to provide technical support to have these issues resolved. In terms of the farm to market roads, we can work towards having that done in the 2021 budget,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister also informed the gathering that a team comprising officers from the respective agencies will be returning to the community within a week’s time to meet with farmers to gather detailed information and work out the technical aspects. Afterwards, a report will be compiled and presented to his office for further action.

Further, farmers who requested seeds immediately benefited from the Ministry’s seed distribution programme.

Minister Mustapha was accompanied by the Ministry’s Director General, Mr. Madanlall Ramraj and other senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture.

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