Agriculture has a place in the modern economy because of global demand and a growing population, President Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday at an Open Day and Mini Exhibition held by the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural/Development/Authority (MMA/ADA) as part of the observances for Agriculture Month.
Pointing out that agriculture is not just about rice and sugar, Jagdeo mentioned that government has brought in breeding stocks and is opening a lab to do tissue culture to facilitate the growing of high quality planting materials to maintain productivity.
Jagdeo said too that the country has a whole range of incentives for agriculture and that money is being invested in drainage and irrigation and farm-to-market roads.
He highlighted the Hope canal project where government is spending US$15 million to build an exit from the East Demerara Conservancy to the Atlantic.
This, he said is to “flush the water out rather than when it is flooded to release it in the Mahaica River so that all of these areas are flooded all the way to MMA.”
According to him, “the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News do not like the Hope canal… They are trying to bring it down as they are trying to bring down the hydro.”
He said government brought in a team of international engineers to design the canal along with local engineers and is saving millions of dollars because the project was not given to contractors.
At the end of Jagdeo’s address, a resident of Little Baiboo, Mahaica Creek, Parsooram Udai got up and told him “thanks very much for the Hope canal.”
Udai later told this newspaper that the canal would relieve the flooding that they suffered from for so many years during the rainy season.
PPP/C presidential candidate Donald Ramotar remarked that agriculture has a pivotal role to play in the development of Guyana. He said though that for it to be productive it has to be done in a scientific way so farmers can become the “bread-basket of the Caribbean.”
In his address Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said “October is a month in which we pay tribute to the hard-work, commitment and resilience of farmers.” He said too that they are given “special treatment and special recognition.”
Persaud hailed the farmers for cultivating more land, noting that with the growing interest in agriculture, government is “running out of land” and would issue additional leases.
The MMA/ADA presented several persons as well as the Hopetown Co-op, the Bush Lot Masjid and a church at Rosignol with leases for land. Meanwhile, among the booths that showcased their products at the exhibition were the; Onverwagt Aqua-Culture Farm, Region Five Craft Production, Central Mahaicony/Perth Village Farmers’ Association, GuySuCo, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Guyana Rice Development Board.
Meanwhile, as part of the observance by the PPP/C of its 19 years of achieving democracy following elections in 1992, Jagdeo, Ramotar and Persaud all remembered the struggles and sacrifices of the late president, Dr Cheddi Jagan.