Govt adopts proactive approach to agriculture in Regions Five, Six

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha has said the Government is taking a more proactive approach to revitalise agriculture in Regions Five and Six.

While acknowledging the need for more resources to boost productivity, the Minister assured residents during a recent Berbice outreach that Government intends to develop the sector sustainably.

“I intend to work with the farmers to develop this sector.  This is one of the most important sectors in our country. This is the sector that we can alleviate poverty and we can create wealth, but it’s how we lead it and how we manage it,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister visited Tain, Fryrish and Number 19 Village, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) and Belladrum, West Coast Berbice, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) on Saturday. He was accompanied by a team comprising heads of agencies and other senior Agriculture officials.

In Region Six, he highlighted several provisions in the Emergency Budget 2020, including the removal of value-added tax on equipment and the reduction in cost for lease lands and rentals, which will help farmers reduce costs.

“Less than three months we are in Government and we are putting measures in place. We are reversing those harsh measures so that we can ease the burden on the backs of the people; that’s the way we intend to run this country,” Minister Mustapha said.

He also introduced newly appointed Coordinator of Agriculture in the region, Mr. Dennis Deroop, who will oversee the work of the extension officers. 

“The extension services that our Ministry is providing… they will have to come and meet with the farmers rather than the farmers going to their office to meet with them. They will have to be more responsive and more proactive. They will have to meet with the farmers, listen to their problems and help them ensure that they manage their cattle or other livestock, ensure that they get proper advice in cultivation of rice and other crops,” Minister Mustapha said.

Residents also voiced concerns about livestock farming, drainage, garbage and sea defence.  The Minister assured them the Government is examining solutions to these issues.  

At Belladrum, Minister Mustapha, urged farmers to form themselves into groups to ensure that their interests are represented. He also committed to a follow-up visit in a fortnight.

In response, cash crop farmer, Mr. Joseph Rooplall said they welcomed the Minister’s suggestion. “In groups, you get things done. I’m hoping and I will hold him to that…because he said let us form them back and he will assist us and that’s good.”

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