US$11M Agri project for 60 indigenous communities

  • 4,500 households targeted

DPI Guyana, Friday, July 6, 2018

Sixty indigenous communities in Region Nine and Region One (Barima-Waini) will benefit from the implementation of a US$11.1M Hinterland Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Development (HESAD) programme.

The project targets some 30,000 residents from 4,500 poor households; 30 percent youth, 50 percent women. Project Manager Allan John Woolford explained that all the villages and communities in Region Nine are eligible to benefit from the project as well as Mabaruma and Moruca in Region One. He was speaking at the recently concluded Regional Toshaos’ Conference held at the Indigenous Conference Hall, Region Nine.

Woolford said that consultations on the project have already started at the regional level, and a Regional Management Committee (RMC) chaired by Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock has been established. Two representatives from the beneficiaries, along with representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Natural Resources, Business, Public Health and Social Protection are also part of the committee.

Woolford said the project will initially focus on the North Rupununi in order to capitalise on the government’s efforts to exploit the agricultural potential of the area but will also be conducted in Central and South Rupununi – areas most affected by climate change.

The programme will be implemented in phases. Phase One involves the strengthening of the community and producer groups – community production development plans for region nine; implementation of investment plans- investment fund, public and common goods and services and producer groups; and project & knowledge management and coordination- monitoring & evaluation of the implementation in each community and linkages.

Woolford added that support will be given income generating ventures such as Cassava Processing, Cattle Rearing and Eco-Tourism among others. It will also finance water, renewable energy & internet access.

Last year, the Government of Guyana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a US$11.1 Million agreement to boost small-scale farming in hinterland communities. IFAD is providing a US$7.9 Million loan and a US$500,000 grant, while the government is investing US$2.4 Million into the project. The beneficiaries will also be contributing US$300,000.

The project will also facilitate increased access to assets that build community resilience and create enabling productive environments such as water, energy and ICT and ensure that poor, indigenous and non-indigenous rural households living in the project area, whose livelihoods are threatened by economic and environmental risks, are direct beneficiaries.

By: Synieka Thorne