Region 10 sees major agri achievements despite COVID-19

The Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region 10 is reporting major achievements in the agriculture sector despite the impact of COVID-19 this year.

Regional Agricultural Officer, Mr. Deryck Collins

Regional Agricultural Officer, Mr. Deryck Collins said while most physical activities were canceled due to the pandemic, the Region still managed to achieve an 82 per cent increase in the kitchen garden initiative.

“That was one of our major push enhancing and getting persons au fait with the kitchen garden techniques and how to grow their own food. That is one of our biggest accomplishment for this year,” Mr. Collins told DPI in a recent virtual interview.

Some $13.5 million was spent to advance phase two works at the Millie’s Hideout Road. This initiative has benefited about 7000 residents and farmers to date, providing easy transport of produce from farmlands in the Berbice River area.

“The investments in this infrastructure are essential to increase farmers’ access to input and output markets, to stimulate the rural non-farm economy and vitalise rural villages, to increase consumer demand in rural areas, and to facilitate the integration of rural areas into national and international economies,” Mr. Collins said.

Further, Mr. Collins told DPI that about $9 million was used for flood relief in domestic and commercial cash crop farmlands in Rainbow City, Industrial Area, and Speightland. Works to desilt existing creek channel, retaining soil type and movement from main residential compounds were also accomplished. Some 6,000 residents benefitted from those works, the official relayed.

Another project highlighted, is the development of agriculture strategies for the Region which will occur over the next five years. He noted the first step included training farmers to be more involved in e-Agriculture.

“At the moment we are currently mapping all farming areas within the Region so we can have a better understanding of what production is like or how production contribute to the GDP of the Region and national.”

Mr. Collins said the COVID-19 pandemic also led to more people becoming involved in farming; most of whom responded well to the virtual learning opportunities. He said the training aims to ensure every household could sustain itself.

The Agriculture Officer pointed out that already there has been 10 training sessions for 2020, with the two-fold exercise catering for 15 to 25 farmers at once. The trainings are termed Basic Agriculture Practices (BOP) and Good Agriculture Practices (GAP). These include crop husbandry, livestock husbandry and soil management.

“We also looked at alternative farming techniques whereby persons can use the normal kitchen waste, and those old tins, pots and buckets to use as planting mediums within the household.”

The Region also continued some work from the previous year such as the shade house and livestock project.

Mr. Collins said 2021 promises to be even more productive. The Agriculture Department plans to roll out a series of agronomical training and practices in collaboration with the various agriculture agencies.