Gov’t invests $60 M to improve Hope Estate
– Agriculture Minister
The Government has injected some $60 million into the Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL) as its plan to revitalise and expand farming in Guyana progresses.
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha made this announcement while engaging farmers at the estate’s headquarters on the East Coast Demerara on Friday.
The Minister reiterated that the Government is committed to ensuring that the Hope Estate is developed into one of the most sought-after entities within Guyana and the Caribbean.
He also listened to farmers concerns and sought to find ways to remedy them in the shortest possible time.
Farmers complained about improper drainage and irrigation within the estate and animals grazing and damaging produce. They also suggested that a pound be established in the area for stray animals and for pasture land to be made available for cattle to graze.
Noting that all of the requests cannot be realised at once, Minister Mustapha committed to putting effort into revamping the estate.
“It seems like over the years this estate was plagued with a number of problems and we have to work together to resolve these issues. We have to put systems in place to ensure that we improve the management of the estate, its responsiveness and we will ensure that we are more proactive to deal with farmers issues, so that we can resolve them and provide better facilities for you the farmers,” Minister Mustapha said.
Meanwhile, the Minister said the Board of Directors will engage with the estate every week to address concerns.
He also reminded them of the budgetary measures passed in the National Assembly which demonstrate the administration’s commitment to safeguarding and enhancing farmers’ livelihoods.
HCIL has a total of 333 members; 31 are rice farmers while 302 cultivate cash crops. The rice farmers cultivate 971 acres of land and the cash crop farmers occupy 1228.5 acres. Mr. Ricky Roopchand is the current General Manager of HCIL.