Den Amstel farmers’ group receives tillers to boost production
– works ongoing to clear critical drainage structures
Earlier today, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha handed over two tillers to the Den Amstel Progressive Fellowship Farmers’ Group. The donation came following a commitment made by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during a recent outreach in Region Three. During the outreach, the farmers requested assistance to increase and improve production in the village.
During the handing-over exercise, Minister Mustapha said that the government remains committed to ensuring farmers from every village benefit from the country’s resources. He also said that the ministry will continue to work with the farmers to increase their production as part of CARICOM’s overarching goal of lowering the regional food import bill by 25% by 2025.
“During an outreach in Region Three, this group met with the Vice President and requested the government’s assistance because they are interested in agriculture and took note of what the government is doing for the sector in terms of support and investment. We had a follow-up meeting with the Vice President and he committed to having the requested works done as well as donating some equipment. These tools will help them to enhance their land preparation and improve and increase their production,” he said.
Lloyd Harvey, a member of the farmers’ group said since the group was formed just over six years ago this was the first time it has received assistance from the government to push agriculture.
“We met with the Vice President about two months back during an outreach in Region Three. He invited us to meet with him again at the Arthur Chung Conference Center to discuss in detail what were some of the things we needed to get agriculture going. Accepting this donation on behalf of the group, I must say it is really timely and I want to assure the Vice President along with the Minister and his team that our farmers’ group will make a difference. In relation to the excavation works that are being done, I want to say a heartfelt thank you also,” Mr. Harvey said.
The farmers’ group consists of approximately 35 members who cultivate mostly cash crops with approximately 400 acres of farmland. Mr. Harvey explained that not all 400 acres are currently under cultivation. However, he noted with the donated equipment and other interventions to improve drainage in the farming areas, the farmers will be able to move towards increasing their cultivation and output.
Minister Mustapha also explained that in addition to tillers, the ministry is currently executing infrastructural works to complement drainage in the farming areas.
“In addition to this, we are also doing massive drainage and irrigation works in DenAmstel. Approximately $13 million has been budgeted to clear clogged canals. This shows our commitment to improving agriculture across the country. This is how our government works. We have to ensure the available resources are stretched and divided across this entire country so that every citizen benefits,” he added.
Given CARICOM’s food security efforts, Minister Mustapha said that the government is invested heavily in agriculture and remains committed to not only reducing the regional food import bill but to diversifying, improving, and increasing production in all areas within the agriculture sector.