Outreaches have renewed interest in Agriculture – Min. Mustapha
Minister of Agriculture Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha has said outreaches to farming communities countrywide have sparked a renewed interested in agriculture.
Since the PPP/C took office in August, Minister Mustapha has led a robust campaign to address the needs of farming communities, augment agriculture and drainage and irrigation services and revamp programmes and policies to benefit the industries within his purview.
In an interview with DPI on Friday, the Minister said, “We have seen a renewed interest over the last few months. I know for a fact earlier this year many persons were only talking about oil and gas production and agriculture was on the back burner.”
Teams from the Ministry have visited several communities in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six, despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think that because of our outreaches, because of our meeting with farmers, because of the Government’s input in the agriculture sector, in terms of reducing the cost of production, in putting more investment; I think we have seen a renewed interest in agriculture, not only rice production, but we have seen an increase in other crops,” Minister Mustapha said.
The provisions in the Emergency Budget have also been a boon to farmers.
“The agriculture sector, we are on the verge of taking off and taking off in a big way…We can have all of the natural resources in the world but agriculture is here to stay. We have to develop the sector and I am very happy to see the interest that people are showing now,” Minister Mustapha said.
Apart from local interest, the incentives in the budget have also attracted the interest of foreign investors, including from Chile and from as far afield as Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
“There are a number of Guyanese who are living overseas who want to come back and invest in agriculture, in rice and other crops in this country,” the Minster added.
A group from Israel has expressed an interest in the Wales Development Authority. The same group is also interested in the production of cocoa, for which Guyana’s climactic conditions are ideal.
The Minister said a Brazilian company has cultivated 300 acres of soya this year and they are expected to increase their acreage. The Government is also expected to provide incentives for corn and soya bean production.