Linden farmers mull diversification

– following RDC’s announcement to budget agriculture

– farmers excited about what’s in store for 2019

– RDC commended for making agriculture a programme head

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, December 27, 2018

Farmers in Linden are eagerly awaiting the rollout of plans for 2019. Following announcements by the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council (RDC), to make agriculture a programme head, Linden farmers will promote measures of diversification, since they will now be receiving the financial and technical assistance to do so.

Regional Chairman, Renis Morian recently announced that Agriculture will now be a programme head at the RDC since the region would have been allocated its largest budgetary provision of $3.9 Billion. This, Morian noted, is a huge increase, over $500Million compared to 2018’s allocation.

Founding member of the Linden Farmer’s Association Godfrey Edwards shared that the Region 10 farmers very eager about the move, more so that talks were already held for diversification of the sector. Edwards said farmers will no longer focus solely on traditional farming but will be incorporating livestock rearing and more noticeable, value-added production. With the needed assistance from the RDC, he is optimistic that the projects will be successful.

“We were looking at a shift in the programme, we were looking to commence the production of ham, sausage and bacon and to move away from traditional farming,” he said. Edwards commended the regional officials for realising the potential in the farmers and putting systems in place for them to receive the necessary assistance. He also commended the farmers for working together.

In addition to diversification, Edwards said that the farmers have commenced an aggressive sensitisation programme on the advantages of subsistence and backyard farming. The Community Development Councils (CDC) have played a great role in this regard. “We are encouraging people to utilise the small spaces that they have… Let us try to collaborate with each other because the chain is strong as the weakest link.”

One of Linden’s popular farmers, who already has already been successful at diversification, is Owen DeSouza. Primarily a coconut farmer and coconut agro-processor, DeSouza also plants other traditional and medicinal crops which he processes into soaps, powders and other bi-products. He commended the RDC for this move as it will enhance the livelihood of farmers and also praised the other farmers for thinking outside of the box and seeing the benefits of diversification.

“There are a lot of farmers that have a vision but no finance and I really do look forward to the 2019 agricultural agenda, since it will encourage farmers as well,” he said. DeSouza stressed that farming can create hundreds of jobs in Linden since it provides same from the nursery to the factory and therefore should be seriously considered.

Regional Chairman, Renis Morian explained that the RDC is aiming to strengthen the region’s food security base and to limit its dependency on other regions for agricultural produce. He said that programmes to raise awareness on the importance of agriculture will be initiated and technical and material support in the form of training, seeds, tools, etc., will also be given to all those who take up the mandate to farm.

Morian said the RDC has been motivated by the many farmers and even residents who came forward and have shown interest in agriculture and have even started their own subsistence farming in their kitchen gardens. Morian is calling for all stakeholders and local leaders to come on board to holistically push agricultural production in Region 10.

Story and Images: Vanessa Braithwaite.

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