Farmers and gov’t must work together

– To build trust and be more open to each other

Hundreds of farmers at Mortice, Karamat and surrounding communities in the Mahaicony Creek, Region Five, benefitted from $233 million in the government’s flood relief cash grant.

The disbursement was spearheaded by Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, MP.

Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat MP handing over a cheque to Ms. Michelle Neukirch

Ms. Chandanie Kissoon was one of the thousands of farmers who suffered severe losses from the recent countrywide flood. Ms. Kisson who resides in Barabara up the Mahaicony Creek, plants 40 acres of rice, cash crops and livestock.

She said she lost 10 acres of rice, almost everything in her garden and a quantity of livestock.

According to her, with the sudden rise in the water level, she was unable to save anything.  She explained that it was a very difficult time for her family since they depend solely on her farm for sustenance.

“Thanks very much to the Government for this relief. It really going to help me a lot because I am going to go back to the garden, I will go back to the livestock and I am going to go back to the rice,” Ms. Kissoon said.

Ms. Chandanie Kissoon

Bhojnarine Lakhram also had a similar story to Ms. Kissoon. Mr. Lakhram explained that he lost all of his 117 acres of rice. He said, life as he knew I,t stood still and it was government’s assistance in the form of hampers that helped his family get by during that time.

“We will try now to go back to the crops with the money, turnover back the crop, pay out the little debt and hope we get back a good crop,” Lakhram said.

Mr. Bhojnarine Lakhram

Ms. Michelle Neukirch and Mr. Bridgemohan Mackhrandilal also expressed gratitude to the government for assisting farmers who suffered losses during the flood.

Ms. Neukirch said, “it is a good initiative; I am very grateful for what I am having and thanks to the minister and everyone that contribute. I am very grateful for that.”

“Thanks very much for the assistance that the government give the people and the farmers in Mahaicony today, so they can go back to the field and do the necessary things, and I hope all the rest of people get through with the assistance too,” Mr. Mackhrandilal said.

Mr. Bridgemohan Mackhrandilal

Minister Bharrat said the loss suffered by farmers was witnessed first-hand by government. He said the Administration is providing support for farmers because they care.

“Today we know that the assistance that we are going to give to you is not to compensate you for all your losses. It is difficult to compensate you for all your losses because we know that you lost a lot, but today, we are assisting you as a government, we are assisting you to return to somewhat of a normal life, we are assisting you to return to farming,” the minister said.

The minister also called on persons to be honest with their claims of loss. He said the dishonest practice of some has reached the ears of the government.

“We need to be honest because when you are not honest, it means that you are depriving other people of getting assistance, that is what is happening. And we know that if a man loses two cows, he will say 20 died. If he had 20 chickens, he will say 100 chickens died… I know how hard it is but all we are asking is for you to be honest with us. If it is 20 acres rice, tell we it is 20 acres rice and do not bring the wife, the son and daughter to register for the same 20 acres rice,” Minister Bharrat stated.

The flood relief cash grant is government’s way of supporting farmers who suffered losses in the recent national disaster. Over $7 billion was set aside for this initiative.