NAREI expends $38M on new office, ATV to better serve farmers in Paramakatoi
In a bid to improve its extension services in far-flung areas across the country, the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), on Friday, commissioned a brand new office building and an ATV in Paramakatoi, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
The construction of the building was executed to the tune of $36,822,665 while the ATV was procured at a cost of $1,995,000.
The building, which forms part of the agency’s 2020 capital projects, will be used to house NAREI’s extension staff, as well as conduct training for farmers and other persons in the village who are involved in agriculture-related activities.
Delivering remarks at the commissioning, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said the government is working to ensure agriculture in hinterland areas benefit from the same level of development as the coastal regions.
“These are the kinds of investments that the PPP Government is making. We are not only making investments in urban areas and on the coast. Large investments are being made in hinterland areas to serve the communities and develop the agriculture sector. We’ve also commissioned a brand new ATV so that our extension officers in these areas can better serve the communities. This shows the government’s commitment to developing the agriculture sector in all parts of the country. Agriculture is playing a leading role now in our country and, as a government, we are making a lot of funds available to develop this very critical sector,” Minister Mustapha said.
The project also includes the construction of a fence and security hut, the installation of perimeter lighting, utilities work, as well as furnishing.
Following the exercise, Minister Mustapha toured a shadehouse set up by the research institute. The shadehouse, which is located in the compound of the office, will ensure quality seedlings are made available to villagers.
While in the region, Minister Mustapha also spearheaded the government’s ongoing flood relief which saw approximately 340 farmers benefiting from close to $29 million in relief grants. During that exercise, Minister Mustapha encouraged the farmers to use the grant to return to the land.
Farmers who received the grant thanked the government for the assistance, as many of them lost their crops. Farmers in the village are known to cultivate mostly ground provisions such as cassava, yams, and eddoes.