It Government’s quest to diversify its agricultural production, Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, on Wednesday, spearheaded an outreach exercise to the islands of Leguan and Wakenaam, Region Three.
The exercise forms part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s mandate to better serve its farmers; by adequately addressing some of the ills affecting their mode of production and by promoting the cultivation and production of non-traditional crops.
Guyana’s efforts to expand and diversify the country’s agriculture is a policy direction that has gained the attention and support of Government.
“The government’s thrust for development in the agricultural sector over the next five years is hinged on the drive to diversify and expand production in non-traditional activities….Our focus is centered not only on improving the drainage system and rationalizing production on the coast, but also in developing these new areas of activity,” Minister Holder explained.
The subject Minister was at the time addressing scores of rice, cattle, coconut and cash crop farmers in Leguan where he echoed the call for not only togetherness, but for farmers to work collectively, to push for the sector to further advance.
“This pursuit by the Government to modernize the agricultural diversification thrust in our country has already begun to produce favorable results,” the Minister said.
Dabie Singh, a farmer of Leguan during a tour to his farm showcased a thriving industry where he currently runs a successful farm with production of ducks, turkey, sheep and hassar.
“We are running a successful model farm here…people sometimes hear about Leguan and think that we are small disorganized farmers but, indeed, we have come a far way and we intend to continue to boost our production with the help of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority” Dabie said.
Extension officers of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) have been working tirelessly to ensure that farmers receive the necessary technical advice to ensure that proper animal husbandry is practiced.
The farmer in his drive to further diversify has recently joined the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute’s quest at large scale coconut production. Coconut water and copra is presently on high demand in the export market and farmers are now positioning themselves to tap into this lucrative industry.
The Ministry of Agriculture has maintained its commitment to ensuring that export continues to thrive and as such, stakeholders in the agricultural sector continue to receive assistance from the administration, to boost their efforts to diversify the sector by exploring new and modern technology.
At Wakenaam, Mr. and Mrs. Amos Gordon, retirees, currently run a modern duck hatchery which supplies the island as well as the coast with duck meat and eggs.
“We started very small and, as you can see, we have expanded where we supply the coast also….anyone can benefit from such means of production you just have to want to succeed,” Mrs. Gordon said.
Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Livestock Development Authority, Mr. Nigel Cumberbatch has committed to having an Artificial Insemination program implemented on the island.
The Farmers lauded the move by the Ministry in ensuring they can safeguard their livelihood by expanding the dairy industry.
A team from GLDA is scheduled to commence work with farmers and other key stakeholders shortly in looking at ways in which Government can boost the cattle industry in the islands.
“We have huge potential on this island, we just have to tap into it. Working together we can further develop the cattle industry,” Mr. Cumberbatch said.
Government has recognized the potential for other crops, livestock and aquaculture in the development of the country and as such, has been channeling a substantial amount of resources to provide the necessary infrastructural, technical assistance and training to equip farmers with the necessary skills to explore, and venture into, new opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The Minister was accompanied by Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. George Jervis, Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Mr. Nigel Cumberbatch, General Manager, Guyana Marketing Corporation, Ms. Ida Sealey- Adams, Chairman of the Board of Directors, National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Mr. John Piggott, Head, Chief Executive Officer, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Legal and Inspection Unit, Fisheries Department, Mr. Gary Baird and Senior Engineer, National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Rudolph Persaud.