GLDA extension services boosted with $10M capital investment

7 Honda motorcycles, 2 ATVs added to fleet used for extension services
– 10 breeding bulls also handed over to farmers

As part of its 2020 capital investment to boost the effectiveness of its extension services, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) today, commissioned seven Honda motorcycles and two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) at its Mon Repos office.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and other officials of the Ministry of Agriculture with one of the ATVs purchased under the agency’s 2020 capital projects.

The vehicles, which are valued at almost $10 million, would be used by the agency’s extension officers to better serve farmers in remote areas of the country.

During the simple ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha said the vehicles would be used to improve the agency’s responsiveness to the needs of farmers in remote areas.

“Today we will equip our officers with these motor cycles and ATVs with the expectation of improved services across the country. GLDA, along with all of the other agencies under the Ministry, has been tasked with being more responsive to the needs of our farmers. Farmers have been saying that they are not seeing these extension officers, so today we are giving them these tools with the expectation that they will go into the fields and visit the farmers.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha handing over the birds and poultry feed to Ms. Robinson. Also pictured is MoA DG, Madanlall Ramraj (left) and GLDA CEO Dr. Grayson Halley

“There is no excuse now. I’ve recognised that in some agencies, our officers were not responsive and did not have a working partnership with the farmers. Those attitudes have to be changed. If we are to develop our country and advance the agriculture sector, we cannot work in a vacuum or isolation,” Minister Mustapha said.

The motorcycles would be used to boost extension services in Regions Four, Six, Nine and Ten, while the ATVs in Regions Three and Nine.

Minister Mustapha also disclosed that the Ministry is currently working on a plan to empower communities across the country.

“I’ve asked the Chairman of the GLDA Board to work on a plan, especially for the hinterland, where we can work with the village councils, to assist them at the community level, with some livestock. From there, we would be able to extend that programme within the various communities.

“In those areas, there are vast amounts of land and grazing grounds, but the animals are not available. Also, the knowledge will be shared with those councils, through our extension officers to sustain these programmes,” Minister Mustapha said. 

The Minister also said that the agency will also be investing in a number of incubators to develop the agency’s ability to produce the birds, rather than to import them.

Breeding bulls

The Minister also handed over breeding bulls to farmers who purchased the animals from GLDA.  While noting the importance of ensuring quality breeding animals are available to the farmers, Minister Mustapha said that a system would soon be developed to ensure the selection and supply process is fair.   

One of the breeding animals

“GLDA will continue to deliver high quality breeding animals to the farmers. We’ll be reviewing the criteria for eligibility for these breeding animals. We have to develop a selection process where there is fair selection. This is to ensure these animals are not given to friend and family members. Deserving farmers must benefit from this programme,” Minister Mustapha said.

Assisting farmers

Ms. Jane Robinson, a poultry farmer from Crane, West Coast Demerara, also benefited from a number of broiler birds, ducklings and poultry feed. This intervention came about after Ms. Robinson engaged the Minister during his community outreach to Windsor Forest last week. She had informed the Minister that due to flooding on her farm, most of her animals had died and that she needed assistance to resume her operations as it was her main source of income. Minister Mustapha committed to offering some assistance to Ms. Robinson and today, the animals and feed were handed over.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and one of the farmers who purchased one of the breeding bulls from GLDA

Ms. Robinson received 86 broilers, 50 ducklings and three bags of poultry feed. The farmer expressed her gratitude to the Minister for his timely intervention and said that with the donation, she would be able to resume her operations.

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