Thousands turn up for M.o.A Plant Distribution

– citizens encouraged to plant more, establish kitchen gardens as gov’t eyes increasing food production levels  

The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday hosted a seed and seedling distribution exercise at its head office on Regent Street as part of its Agriculture Month 2022 observances.

A similar event was hosted in May 2021 in observance of Guyana’s 55th Independence Anniversary.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha hands over a coconut seedling to one of the persons who came to the exercise.

Thousands of persons from communities across Region Four (Demerara – Mahaica) turned up to the event expressing their interest in benefitting from the initiative which saw a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds and seedlings being distributed.

Persons who visited the ministry benefitted from seedlings such as cherries, guava, passion fruit, sapodilla, pomegranate, and 18-month coconut; as well as lettuce, celery, bora, watermelon, ochro, poi, and pumpkin seeds.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while offering brief remarks said the government is keen on increasing Guyana’s food production levels.

“In Guyana, we are fortunate to be producing almost 60% of the food we consume. As a government, we are not satisfied with that. We want to produce more so we’ve been encouraging every citizen; whether you live in the urban areas or in the rural areas, to plant more; have kitchen gardens so that we can produce for our people and once again become the bread basket of the Caribbean,” he noted.

Further, Minister Mustapha said in order for CARICOM to achieve Vision 25 by 2025, Guyana has to play a leading role and that the government is willing to work with everyone to boost and expand agriculture.

A section of the gathering

“Guyana is leading the agri-food system. We are working with CARICOM to reduce the food import bill by 25% by 2025. In order to achieve this, we have to play the lead, not only in crop production but in the all-around development of the agriculture sector. I’m happy to see so many of our young public servants here showing interest in agriculture. It lets me know that, as a people, we are committed to moving the sector forward. Although we are competing with the oil and gas sector, today’s turnout shows that there is indeed a renewed interest in the agriculture sector. This is because of the programmes and policies that have been implemented by this government under the leadership of our President,” the minister added.

Minister Mustapha disclosed that similar exercises will be held in every region. He also said that officers from the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will be contacting persons who benefitted from the exercise to monitor the growth and progress of the plants distributed and offer technical assistance where needed.

Persons who benefitted from the exercise praised the ministry for the initiative, most of whom expressed that they had a general interest in developing a kitchen garden and being able to grow basic fruits and vegetables on their own. While some said that they had established kitchen gardens, most persons who attended the exercise said they were thankful for the planting materials to get their gardens going.

With the hike in prices of many fruits and vegetables, many Guyanese are once again looking to establish kitchen gardens at their homes.

Agriculture Month is being observed under the theme ‘Championing Food Security through Innovation, Investment and Resilience’.