Minister Mustapha hands over motorcycles, ATVs valued nearly $10M to boost agri services

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, today, handed over seven Honda motorcycles and two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) valued almost $10 million to the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) to boost extension services in several regions.

The simple ceremony was held at the GLDA’s headquarters in Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara. The funds to purchase the motorcycles and the ATVs were allocated in the 2020 Emergency Budget under the GLDA’s capital investment.

The Authority also distributed 10 breeding bulls to several farmers.

Minister Mustapha said the agriculture is poised to be one of the important sectors in Guyana, therefore major investments must be made now.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha delivers his address during the presentation ceremony

“We are working as a team to push forward the agenda and policies of the Government to meet our mandate and realise the true potential of this important sector. We have to invest in Agriculture because we have seen what happened across the world where countries that have neglected their agriculture sector are today starting back from the beginning.”

He said agriculture is critical to Guyana’s development, noting that there has been a major transformation of the sector since the PPP/C Government took office in August 2020.

“Gone are the days when people will tell you wait on the oil and gas revenues. We have seen in almost every community in the various regions, people are coming forward with an interest to come into agriculture and this did not come about because we went to talk about agriculture, this came about because of the policies that we have implemented in the various communities, the support we have given and the way we have been dealing with the farmers,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister also stressed that the intervention would ensure the GLDA is responsive to the farmers and would also enhance the partnership between the entity and the stakeholders.

“If we want to develop this sector, then we cannot work in isolation. We have to build a relationship and, as Minister of Agriculture, I want to tell you here … that we are working assiduously to build that partnership and relationship with the farmers,” he said.

Breeding bulls were also distributed to farmers today

Meanwhile, Mr. Madanlall Ramraj, the Ministry’s Director-General and Chairman of the GLDA Board, pointed out that today’s exercise clearly demonstrated the Government’s words being transformed into actions.

“This is what our Minister, in the Emergency Budget, went to the Parliament for. When we had meetings among the agency heads, several issues were identified that were facing the different departments and one such area was extension services. Extension continues to be a problem which we will collectively, as a team within the Ministry, build to ensure that all of us work towards improving,” he said.

Additionally, GLDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Grayson Halley said his agency’s mandate is to promote greater efficiency in the livestock industry. He added that the new machines would definitely increase body’s capacity to achieve its goals.

GLDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Grayson Halley delivers remarks during the ceremony

“With that in mind, we provide service in animal production, we teach our farmers to do climate smart agriculture through our extension services and officers. We are the ones that the farmers depend on to give them the advice and the know-how to take them to the next level. The Government of the day has placed a responsibility on GLDA and other agriculture agencies to develop this industry,” Dr. Halley said.

He explained that the ATVs are critical in monitoring Guyana’s borders, preventing meat smuggling and possible animal diseases from entering. The motorbikes will be distributed to Regions Four, Six and Nine, while Regions Three and Nine will benefit from the ATVs.