The St Francis Community Developers on Thursday commissioned ten green/shade houses and an aquaculture hatchery at its headquarters in Rose Hall Town, Corentyne.
The projects which became a reality with the support from the Government of Guyana and several other organisations are expected to benefit families and organisations in various communities in Region Six. The projects are said to be the beginning of the expansion of the agriculture and aquaculture industries in the region. It was stated that the aquaculture hatchery is expected to produce 10,000 tilapia fingerlings every eight weeks.
In attendance at the commissioning ceremony was Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally, who stated that the project began under the former minister Volda Lawrence. It was noted during the ceremony that the Government of Guyana donated some $5 million to ensure the completion of the project.
The minister noted that such projects assist with empowering the youths of the region and by extension Guyana at large. “It is an opportunity to empower young people, many exist in a conundrum of poverty and some endure stress to give their families a good life,” she said. She went on to state that with such innovative measures, government has begun to make reducing poverty in various communities a reality.
According to Ally, while the government cannot always offer direct employment it can provide opportunities for employment and with the shade house project, “the opportunity is there for individual and group development.”
Ally stated that government was working towards betterment for all Guyanese, stressing that ethnicity or religion does not come into play when ensuring a “good life” for citizens of the country.
In closing, she called for the expansion of the projects and congratulated the beneficiaries.
CEO of the St Francis Community Developers Alex Foster, in his remarks to the gathering, explained that after seeing the produce from the shade houses, it is evident that this is one of the best investments that could have been made.
“When you see the produce outside that took two weeks to grow, it will be the best $5 million that your ministry will be spending for 2017,” Foster told Minister Ally.
He further noted that the St Francis Community Developers is expected to complete over $400 million worth in projects for the year 2017.
He boasted that these will see 100% completion before end of the year.
He stressed the importance of empowerment in the region and the country at large, noting that the Ministry of Social Protection is playing its part.
Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative present highlighted the importance of partnerships in developmental work.
He stressed that the government cannot fight poverty alone and as such urged the private sector, civil society and citizens of the nation to work together in eliminating poverty in society and achieving the sustainable development goal before 2030.
He said, “Poverty, food and nutrition security go hand in hand, by making a greenhouse available to the family and by making a home available to the family we are setting them up to make a quantum leap” out of poverty.
He stressed that livelihoods will be enhanced with the two projects commissioned.
The beneficiaries of the shade houses include a family from Limlair Village, Corentyne; Manchester Village, Corentyne; Light Town, East Bank Berbice; Kildonan Village, Corentyne; Fyrish Village, Corentyne; the Lower Corentyne Secondary School; the New Amsterdam Women’s Prison; All Saints Presbyterian Centre; Felix Austin Police Training College, Corentyne and the GuySuCo Training Centre.