The $1.5B from the Caricom Development Fund (CDF) for Guyana will see attention being focused on the Parika/Ruby Backdam which has been a longstanding problem for farmers of Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands).
The deal between Guyana and the CDF was signed in Trinidad on Saturday on the sidelines of the Caricom Heads of Government Summit.
A release from the Government Information Agency said that the financing will fund two levels of measures, (a) upgrading of all Weather Access Roads to all Weather Paved Roads and (b) upgrading of Fair-Weather Access Dams to all Weather Roads.
“The Programme will address critical interventions in some of Guyana’s major farming communities, the flagship of which is the upgrade of the 14 km Parika/Ruby Backdam access roads to all-weather asphaltic concrete roads, providing access to over 330 farming households and over 2,000 acres of mixed crop farming. The project will also fund interventions for farm- road upgrades from earthen dams to all Weather Roads in Kuru Kuru to Laluni, Region 4 and Onvergwagt, Region 5 among others”, GINA stated.
The release said that the areas where project interventions would be implemented are expected to see heightened agricultural production. It is forecast that within the target areas, exports will rise by 0.5% and non-rice GDP will move up by 0.5 % within two years of completion of the project.
The main purpose of these road improvements is to directly increase the volume and quality of farm output reaching the market and lowering spoilage volumes at the farm gate, GINA added.
Farm access dams were deemed to be inadequate in facilitating maximum all year-round agricultural production and sales, GINA said.
“The farmers, producers and buyers face difficulties accessing farms during adverse weather to transport inputs, machinery and produce. Moreover, following the adverse weather, the dams often remain inaccessible for some time due to the degradation of the dams from heavy machinery and regular traffic. The access dams service the production and marketing of important agricultural commodities such as livestock, rice and a large range of non-traditional crops such as coconut, pepper, pineapple, citrus, watermelons and aquaculture”, GINA noted.