The Agriculture Ministry is moving to resuscitate abandoned farmlands for the purpose of boosting the non-traditional crops sector and an initial focus would be placed on the East Coast Demerara.
The Land Utilisation Project (LUP) was launched yesterday at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara and is expected to build on the ministry’s Agricultural Diversification Programme. The project was agreed on following a consultation with farmers and after its initiation on the East Coast; it will roll out in other areas including East Bank Demerara, West Bank Demerara and the Essequibo Coast.
Minister Robert Persaud was quoted by the Government Information Agency (GINA) as saying that the initiative is a cooperative approach between government and farmers. He said the project would serve as a motivation to get youths into farming, noting that some $25M would be expended in its first phase as they move to boost production of non-traditional crops from a subsistence level to one of scale. Persaud said too that government will further support the initiative by providing farmers with incentives and equipment to clear the farmlands. The Ministry will also provide a plough for land preparation and planting materials to commence cultivation. He noted that it would be difficult for individual farmers to clear the overgrown vegetation, which he described as semi-jungle.
Persaud also underscored the importance of bringing the land under cultivation saying that “lands which are productive and geographically located in terms to the logistics, to shipping and to air and to processing that these lands be brought quickly under cultivation because some of the other elements of the agriculture diversification is picking up and we need to endure too that we produce,” he added.