Paruima residents urged to use Agriculture as path to development
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 22, 2019
Minister of State, Hon. Dawn Hastings-Williams during a visit to Paruima in Region 7 has urged residents to expand their agricultural production as a way of developing themselves and their community. The State Minister was at the time conducting a community meeting.
Paruima is an Aricuna village close to the border with Venezuela. The traditionally farming community is now faced with an issue of food shortage because of weather challenges that have impacted on the cultivation of their crops.
Minister Hastings-Williams distributed food relief packages prepared by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to the villages of Paruima and Kurukubaru that has also been affected.
She also urged that farmers diversify their crops.
“You have to start thinking about bigger farms… start thinking differently, if the cassava takes nine months, we have to start thinking of other short-term crops that we can plant and use while your cassava is maturing.”
She cited the example of a Kato farmer who had experimented with growing strawberries and after several attempts, he was successful.
“If he could have done it… He wasn’t a scientist, but he experimented and eventually came up with the right type of soil in which to grow the berries.”
Minister Hastings-Williams encouraged the Paruima residents to “stay interested” in agriculture.
“I’m not saying forget about your cassava, your peanuts, your beans or your plantains because they are very healthy foods,” she explained.
However, she urged them to consider the benefits of value-added production and promote themselves as producers of healthy food options.
“People will buy it because they know you do not use fertilisers here. Many people are becoming health conscious and don’t want to use fruits and vegetables that are grown with fertilisers, they prefer to buy foods that come directly from the rich soil as you have here.”
The State Minister underscored that even with the imminent oil production, and the revenues that will accrue, it is important to have a viable agriculture sector.