Rupertee to receive 400 black giant birds, incubator, plant nursery to boost village economy

The Amerindian village Rupertee, located in the Annai Sub-District, Region Nine would soon benefit from several Government incentives to boost its economy and agriculture output.

During an outreach to the North Rupununi District on Tuesday, Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha met representatives of the villages to discuss the Government’s plans for agricultural development there.

The Minister disclosed that an additional $3 million would be spent to develop agriculture in the village.  

“We’ll construct fences to enhance your cattle rearing. We’ll construct a well so that you can benefit from a potable water supply, and finally, we’ll build a house, a ‘kapetash.’ Your community will be enhanced.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while addressing the gathering

We’ll also be working with you to develop your livestock industry with pasture development and access to improved breeds through artificial insemination and breeding bulls. Soon, we’ll be making more donations to all of the villages in Region Nine. Each village in Region Nine will experience some form of development from the Ministry of Agriculture this year because I believe the same benefits farmers on the Coast are receiving, farmers in this Region should benefit from as well,” Minister Mustapha said.

As part of a packed two-day outreach, Minister Mustapha visited the village’s Black Giant Poultry Project site. 

Some of the Black Giant Birds currently at the facility in Rupertee

Senior Village Council, Mr. Surish Andries said the project has the ability to expand and further improve the village’s ability to supply poultry to other villages in the Region.

“The building is currently underutilised. We want to be able to fully utilise this facility. That is our target. We’ve had a few challenges with attacks from the wildlife where animals would come in the pen. This species of bird is very new to us and its serving as a learning experience for us. GLDA has an officer here who is really helping us with the records… We also need an incubator, a small one, to assist with our production,” Mr. Andries said.

Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha told the villagers that with the Ministry working to develop the non-traditional crops sector. Villages like Rupertee, he said, can capitalise on the opportunity and make use of its available land. 

“Although we are investing in our traditional crops, we are also promoting the cultivation of non-traditional and high-income earning crops. Areas like Rupertee in Region Nine will be important areas for us because we recognise, over the years, we’ve been importing millions of dollars in corn for the poultry industry.

We have the ability to satisfy the local markets and Government has been putting the necessary systems in place to bring Guyana to a place where it can start producing these crops on a large scale,” the Minister said.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while distributing the items to villagers

During the interactive session, villagers told the Minister and his team that there were several projects that needed the Government’s input to further enhance agriculture in the village.

Mr. Andries also told the Minister that the village needed a tractor fitted with a plough as many farmers need assistance with land preparation for their farms and pastures.

Another villager spoke about the need for an inland fisheries policy to develop the sector.

“There’s no inland fisheries policy in Guyana. It’s in draft and I know this because I took part in that process to create the document. I would like for this Government to recommence the process to regularise this and make it a reality.

A villager while making a comment at the meeting

We have policies for the other fishing, but nothing for inland fisheries. I’ve been speaking with the Chief Fisheries Officer on this as well. The only document we have is the Arapaima Management Plan and it is still being breached because the law says that we should not trouble it but people still do,” the villager said.

The team was also informed that the Rupertee tractor is not functioning and this obtains in several other villagers. “I’m happy that you said the Government will be giving tractors to several villages, but there needs to be a proper management system in place,” the villager said.

In response, Minister Mustapha told the villagers that three tractors fitted with ploughs will be procured for the Region this year by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA). One of those machines would be stationed in Annai so that villagers from Rupertee can access it.  

As regards the need for an inland fisheries policy, the subject Minister said the Fisheries Department is currently working to regularise inland fishing. He also said that with Government moving apace with its aquaculture master plan, policies regarding all areas of fisheries will be crafted and implemented in the coming months.

Minister Mustapha also told the villagers that he has instructed the NDIA’s Regional officer to develop a management system for machines assigned to the Region and to have persons from the villages, who are operating the machines trained to conduct basic repairs. This, he said, would cut back on down time and ensure works are carried out promptly.

After the meeting, Minister Mustapha distributed several farm tools, Acoushi ants bait, fertilisers, chemicals, and seeds to villagers.