Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud on Tuesday distributed seeds and other planting materials to De Velde and Baracara farmers during an outreach exercise aimed at boosting cultivation in remote areas.
The region ten and six farmers received 2000 packets of seeds, cutlasses, shovels, spray cans and other tools and equipment from the ministry, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.
Romeo Harris, a resident of De Velde, speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries said that the community appreciated the donation. He also said the visit was significant and historic since it was the largest government contingent to visit the area in recent times. Persaud also said although De Velde is some 125 miles from Georgetown he did not want farmers to be left out of mainstream activities. GINA said the community will also benefit from a donation of sport gear.
Meanwhile, Region Six Regional Chairman Zulficar Mustapha said Baracara had been neglected for some time and a visit from the minister would motivate farmers to increase their output. During a visit last year Persaud assured residents that they would receive extension aid from the ministry. He had also encouraged them to form a farmers group to better take advantage of the services the ministry offered. He said many services are available and efforts have been made to boost communities’ access to them.
According to GINA the minister noted that there was an interest in logging in the area and advised farmers to look at other options that will generate money since he wanted them to look at external markets. In giving an example he said Trinidad and Tobago now imports produce from Guyana; produce that they never imported before. Additionally, government is currently resuscitating the health centre in Baracara. Plans are also in train to reinstall solar panels in the area.
Additionally, training for farmers will start in two weeks and an individual from both areas will be identified to be trained as an extension agent for their respective areas. Farmers will be trained in agro-processing, soil testing and how to deal with various pests and diseases that affect crops. They were also given manuals to help diagnose and threat their crops. The training sessions will be coordinated by the National Agricultural Research Institute, GINA said.
Regarding finding markets for their produce, the minister said the New Guyana Marketing Corporation will be undertaking that task. A list of exporters will also be published. Also, an engineer from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority will visit De Velde soon to investigate drainage issues.