Region Six farmers urged to reinvest flood relief grants to generate finances – Minister Singh
Hundreds of elated farmers in Region Six, who suffered losses due to the unprecedented flooding, turned out on Sunday at various locations to receive the Government’s flood relief grants.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, MP, led the distribution exercise at the J.C. Chandisingh and Central Corentyne Secondary Schools.
Minister Singh told the recipients that Government has made provisions to assist farmers to immediately restart production.
A few months ago, the Government passed a supplementary paper in the National Assembly, of which $10 billion was allocated to immediately drain farmlands and provide relief to farmers.
His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali also announced that some $7.3 billion of the $10 billion will be used to provide direct relief to farmers.
Minister Singh said farmers can also reinvest the monies to generate finances.
“I’m appealing to you and I’m appealing to both men and women farmers and households, this flood relief is intended to give you a little brace to return to productive activity to strengthen your livelihood, use it wisely. I’m urging you to use this flood relief wisely, to ensure that you get a few plants back in the ground, you get your paddy back in the ground if you’re a rice farmer, you get a few animals to breed again and you help to return to where we were in agricultural production, and where you were with income generation that is very important,” the Minister said.
Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj noted that the assistance is not enough to compensate the farmers for all their losses, but will assist them to restart production.
“I’m not saying to compensate farmers, I’m saying to assist farmers, to bring some sort of relief to farmers, so that they can get back to the land. Our primary objective is to assist the farming community, household so that they can relieve some of the burden they have encountered during the flood,” Ramraj said.
Chairman of Region Six, David Armogan also pointed out that Sunday’s distribution is just the first of the exercise in the area, as there may be persons who were affected by the floods, but have not yet registered with the Ministry of Agriculture to benefit from the initial disbursement.
Meanwhile, the recipients are grateful for the money which will assist them to return to some level of normalcy.
Davenand Sawh, a rice farmer who lost 500 acres of rice received $10 million.
He said, “it is very very important to get back from the previous losses and you know with rice, sometimes you don’t only loss from the crop, you have machineries. You have some deterioration because of the weather condition, machines gone in some state that it gotto repair. So, it is a lot of money spending and this will be a great move on behalf of the Government to support farmers.”
Another rice farmer, Ezekiel Khotiah said he will use the money to clear all debts from the previous crop and restart cultivation.
“It’s very important, for use for the next crop to re-sow and plus expense for this past crop…I think the President is doing a good job especially for farmers for the time in office” Khotiah said.
Cash crop farmer, Oliver Giddings said, “I feel very good receiving this money because it will go back to planting right now…I appreciate this money from the government so I could go back and plant again.”
Zafiel Yusuf said, “I’m pretty much elated because the cash grant, I’ve received it in a very timely manner in which I could get back on the grounds of agriculture, and I could replant. This is really a big boost for me, since during the Covid and so forth, there’s not much money coming in my pocket. So, this here is a major boost so that I could invest, and plus you know, recuperate in the home.”
The farmer expressed gratitude to President Ali, “I would really thank the Excellency, Mr. President, Irfaan Ali for, you know, for bringing in this grant, so that we could be able to focus on agriculture, right, which is a main means of importance in this country.”
Over $970 million is being distributed in Region Six.