More farmlands to be made available in MMA/ADA Scheme
– 10,000 acres of land to ramp up rice production
– farmers’ groups receive agri inputs
Rice farmers of Region Five will soon benefit from the availability of more farmlands aimed to significantly boost rice cultivation within the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) scheme, which is known to be the largest rice producing area in Guyana.
This is in keeping with government’s efforts to ensure that rice farmers receive the necessary implements to ramp up rice productivity across the country.
This assurance was given by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha during an outreach in the region on Wednesday at MMA/ADA’s office, Onverwagt.
Farmers had the opportunity to engage the minister on several issues affecting them which include subletting, land leases, and paddy prices.
“We are trying to open up more lands. I’m looking to see that those persons who don’t have lands will receive those lands. I am hoping that by the end of the next crop, we will have about, at least, 10,000 acres more to come under rice cultivation,” Minister Mustapha highlighted.
Farmers to benefit from this include those who are renting, cultivating, and who would have submitted applications.
This, the minister said, will prevent the farmers from paying exorbitant land rental fees to private persons. Instead, the farmers will pay $3,500 for land rental to MMA/ADA.
Since assuming office in August 2020, government has been working assiduously to reduce land rental and drainage and irrigation charges.
“I am advising the board and the board would come up with recommendations. We will try as much as possible to deal with this issue of subletting,” Minister Mustapha said.
Reemphasising government’s commitment to farmers, Minister Mustapha noted that government recently engaged the major rice millers of Regions Two to Six to address paddy prices.
The minister related that, “I told them, the entire Rice Millers Association, that at least the farmers must not get less than the last crop… Let us hope that good sense prevails and we can get a better price. I am hoping that we can have a continued discussion and we will push the matter. Hopefully, from the time you start to ramp up production more, we can have more discussions in moving the matter.”
Also, farmers’ groups of Zeezight, Number Nine Village, and Cotton Tree received agricultural inputs which include seeds, gasoline water pumps, spray cans, tiller, and gardening tools to boost productivity within the communities.
The President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led administration remains committed in its food security efforts to reduce CARICOM’s high food import bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025.