RAID programme reaps benefits

-Local farmers enhancing Guyana’s agricultural sector

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Rural Agricultural Infrastructure Development (RAID) project was launched in 2016 as a four-year programme, which focuses primarily on infrastructure and to further foster growth in Guyana’s agricultural sector.

The RAID project is funded by the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF) at a projected total investment cost of G$318,600,000 and has been implemented in Mon Repos, Buxton, Ithaca and other farmlands.

Latchman Khemraj, a Mon Repos farmer for over 20 years, cited the tremendous help the RAID initiative has offered him.

“We [are] getting a lot of help. They give us a lot of plants, get the drains clean, clear down the lands…I thank very much to them for helping us.”

Khemraj encouraged other farmers to seize the opportunities offered to improve themselves and the agricultural sector.

Amani Tini, Extension Officer for Buxton Farmlands, relayed that the RAID programme featured different phases, but chiefly being an infrastructural one.

“We did the primary drains, which would be these big canals, clearing of land as well, and we did some ploughing and chipping of land…basic land preparation so the farmers could get an easier time handling.”

Tini explained that access to the farms has increased vastly through RAID; other benefits include improved drainage and planting material.

Single parent and commercial farmer, Michella Benjamin, shared her appreciation for programme.  “[There are] a lot of benefits for me as because I’m a single parent. I have been able to save a lot of money…the government did so much for me and all I have to do is the planting.”  Benjamin also encouraged other farms to get on board.

Adrian Ceaser, an Ithacan farmer, listed machinery benefits. “It’s wonderful because if you’ve got to dig the drain – [it’s] manual labour, [and] it’s going to be hard, and the tractor, hymac and the bulldozer, they have done well man, I appreciate what they have done so we can go ahead with the farming and be successful.”

Another Ithaca farmer, Frank Anthony, with 15 years’ experience said that the land clearing, tilling, drainage and irrigation are all benefits he reaped from the RAID program.  “I see the programme as beneficial to Ithaca people,” Anthony said.

Other farmers relayed that the RAID programme reaped proper drainage and planting material as benefits.