Gov’t determined to restore agri in the hinterland – Minister Sukhai

The PPP/C Government is focusing on rebuilding the agriculture sector in the hinterland, after the unprecedented countrywide flooding that devastated parts of the country.

The Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led administration has crafted a plan to revive the sector, part of which is the delivery of tractors to villages, equipping them to improve the agriculture sector.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP hands over the key of the tractor to Toshao of White Water, Deon Adams

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP, recently visited nine villages in Region One (Barima-Waini) and handed over the critical piece of machinery.

Village Toshaos and Chairpersons of the Community Development Councils (CDCs) of Arakaka, Barabina, Bumbury, Hosororo, Khan Hill, Oronoque, Wainaina, Wauna and White Water, received the tractors.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP (centre) and Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Ryan Toolsiram interact with students and residents of Arakaka

Minister Sukhai affirmed that the tractors are the first step for villages to become food secure.

She noted that four decades ago, Region One was a major agriculture producer and it’s the Government’s vision to help restore the sector there.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP addresses a concern of this resident of Bumbury

“Our task as a government is to ensure that agriculture remains an economic sector that has to be supported and has to maintain our country when it comes to food security. Our importation bill is still too large, so we have to pursue agriculture to reduce our food import bill.”

Minister Sukhai said Guyana can return as the breadbasket of the Caribbean, with Region One playing an integral role in the country reaching that achievement.

Residents of Khan Hill attend a meeting with Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP

The delivery of tractors is not the only government initiative to empower hinterland communities as the government is continuously training Amerindian youths to become drivers and technicians of solar panel installation and maintenance. They are also being trained to become computer literate.

The government is also executing a major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) project in the hinterland, where these villages will have access to the internet. Some villages have been granted $1 million to refurbish their ICT hubs, while others without a facility were given $2 million to construct a building for the computers.

One of the 17 tractors delivered to Region One

This project will end in 2022. So far, over 20 villages have been connected to the internet, which will assist students to study online.

Since entering office, the Community Service Officers (CSOs) programme was reinstated. Every Amerindian village can have up to 10 CSOs that are tasked with assisting the village in its development.

These CSOs earn a monthly stipend of $30,000, which is payable every two months. This means $600,000 is pumped into the local economy every two months, in a village with the maximum number of CSOs.