National Assembly approves $5.6B to further advance agri sector

The National Assembly on Wednesday approved $5.6 billion to further catapult and transform Guyana’s agriculture sector.

Some $2.5 billion was approved to provide additional resources to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), over $437 million for the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and $25.4 million for the New Guyana Marketing Corporation.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, while responding to questions posed by the opposition members of parliament explained that the sums being sought are as a result of additional projects to be executed upon request of residents during outreaches.

“We have a number of other projects that people are now requesting and we want to start those projects to put the system in place to continue to improve our infrastructure,” Minister Mustapha informed the House.

Under the $2.5 billion supplementary funding for NDIA, rehabilitation and repairs to existing drainage and irrigation structures will be executed in Region Two.

Additionally, the minister explained that $69 million will be expended by NAREI to rehabilitate 11 nurseries across the country.

“What we have now in this country, we have a demand for planting materials. We have seen over the last three years farmers coming onboard in droves, food production has grown tremendously, so all the nurseries in our country, we will ensure that we develop it to be more responsive to the needs of the farmers,” he pointed out.

NAREI will be working to develop large scale tissue culture with $268 million cleared on Wednesday.

Sums were also green lighted to support the Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme, where shade houses are being established to incorporate more young people in the agriculture sector.

“That shade house at Mon Repos has already earned $50 million for this year already. Less than a year, they already earned $50 million. I am looking now to take this programme across the country where we will purchase another 100 shade houses to take it to places like Buxton, Region 6, Linden, Canal Polder, Region Two so that we can have all the young people embrace agriculture,” he added.

Critical drainage and irrigation works will also be executed in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Ten with $4 billion cleared.

Meanwhile, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) received $100 million to facilitate pasture development in Regions, Two, Three, Five and Ten and according to Minister Mustapha, this will advance the livestock industry in Guyana.

The Guyana Sugar Corporation also received $1.5 billion to facilitate the rehabilitation of 1,572 hectares of temporary abandoned lands at the Albion, Blairmont, Rose Hall and Uitvlugt estates.

The agriculture minister also relayed to the house that the Rose Hall sugar estate will be reopened by the end of September, a commitment made by the government.