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Agency

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder

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It is my firm belief that it is important for everyone to be aware of the fact that agriculture is currently the world’s leading employer and plays a vital role in the livelihood of 40% of its population. In Guyana, we are fortunate to have an agriculture sector that is both strong and well structured. Credit must be given to the Government of Guyana and Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in particular, which showed both commitment and wisdom in investing and creating favorable pathways for continued development of the sector over the past four years.  

I am both pleased and impressed that the new management of Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL) took advantage of the favorable environment that was created by the MOA to work towards making the estate sustainable and less dependent on Government’s subvention for its day to day management. 

The major setbacks the estate suffered under mismanagement by the PPP led Government cannot be swept under the carpet. The estate was hemorrhaging badly and almost went bankrupt. Staff at one time were not paid their monthly salaries for months. All the basic infrastructures were in a state of total collapse and corruption was rampant. However, we should put these unfortunate occurrences behind us and look positively towards the future.

Currently, I must acknowledge the fact that the financial future for HCIL is bright. As a direct result of prudent management of its resources and systems put in place by the MOA, the annual income of the estate has leaped from G$17 million in 2015 to G$36million in 2019. This resulted in a 47% increase in income.  

In its wisdom, the current government over the past 4 years, invested significant financial and human resources to improve the crippling infrastructure at Hope Estate. The aim of this intervention was to better serve farmers’ needs, most of whom are small producers and risk takers. As a direct result of these interventions, today the tides have turned for the better. Several bridges, dams, main access road, the entire D&I system, extension and repairs of the main office building, establishing of a vibrant coconut nursery and coconut demonstration plot – to name a few are now up and running for the benefit of stakeholder of Hope Estate. 

 

The year 2019 was good for HCIL. Much needed improvements were made, especially in the area of improving its infrastructure. It is important to mention that the estate has embarked on projects that are economically smart, environmentally safe and agronomically sound.  Its highly successful coconut nursery, which continues to serve farmers’ needs and is currently one of HCIL ‘s main income streams as well as the extension of its Head Office Building should be commended. The estate is expected to perform even better in 2020. This is because the MOA has in its plan to provide HCIL with a few critical pieces of equipment as well as an excavator which will be used full time to improve the D & I systems that are so critical for production. In addition, a mechanical pump, which is currently under construction at a cost of over G$ 200 million is expected to become fully operational in the first quarter of 2020. This will significantly reduce the occurrence of flooding at Hope Estate. Farmers and stakeholders can be assured that these interventions will aid in the transition journey of the estate towards sustainability and improved services.

The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to provide the necessary  guidance to both the management of HCIL and farmers to bring back the estate from disarray and neglect  to profitability. We are committed, and will work assiduously, to ensure the value chain at HCIL becomes more productive, efficient, profitable and, critically, more inclusive. I wish to take this opportunity to encourage all producers to look seriously at adopting innovative agricultural technologies that are yield enhancing. This, if adopted and implemented correctly, can result in increased production and productivity. I firmly belief that with the required assistance farmers would be incentivized to work both harder and smarter for their own benefit and the benefit of our agricultural sector in particular as well as the nation’s welfare in general.

 

Hon. Noel Holder M.P.

Minister of Agriculture

The Hydrometeorological Service is reporting that increased rainfall is expected as northern Guyana transitions into the second Wet/Rainy season of the year. The secondary rainfall season usually begins in the second half of November and continues until the end of January to mid February the following year. The rainfall season is driven mainly by the southern migration of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and upper atmospheric features such as the subtropical jet and troughs. Over the past two weeks the Hydrometeorological Service has observed that these systems are beginning to affect Guyana affording the conditions for increased rainfall activity and the commencement of the rainfall season, marginally ahead of the usual commencement period.

Given the arrival of the rainfall season, water accumulation in areas with compromised drainage is expected; this can lead to localized flooding/flood related hazards, an upsurge in mosquito breeding, moisture related pests and water borne diseases.

The Hydrometeorological Service strongly urges that careful attention be given to short-range forecasts provided by the Hydrometeorological Service’s National Weather Watch Center (NWWC) in order to plan daily activities, especially by persons involved in agricultural sector and those inhabiting flood prone areas. Further, there are several periods of above normal high tides forecasted in the coming months, which when coupled with the forecasted weather conditions can have severe localized impacts on the livelihood of the citizenry. It is therefore incumbent upon citizens and responsible agencies to take all necessary steps to prepare for the commencement of the rainfall season and the associated impacts on all sectors.

The Hydrometeorological Service will provide updates to its seasonal forecast and warnings as new information becomes available. For short range forecasts and weather analyses, stakeholders are advised to follow the Daily Weather Briefs, Outlooks and Advisories produced by the National Weather Watch Centre or visit www.hydromet.gov.gy. The Forecast Desk can be reached at 261-4489/261-2216 on a 24-hour basis.

The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) hereby seeks to bring to the general public an update on actions implemented by the Agency as it relates to the suspected introduction of Duck Hepatitis Virus to six duck farms on the coast of Guyana (Regions 3, 4 & 6).

Having received reports of high mortality amongst some farmers, an investigation was conducted by GLDA on the affected farms where Duck Viral Hepatitis (DVH) was viewed as the suspected primary disease for high mortality in ducklings between the ages of 3 to 15 days old. Samples were collected, processed and shipped to the Cornell University Duck Research Laboratory for confirmation. While this suspected disease is not treatable, Guyana awaits a response from the Laboratory to guide its future course of action in safeguarding Guyana’s animal health status.

We wish to further indicate that to date only the six private farms are affected by this disease outbreak and we have successfully been able to contain it, mainly as a result of our actions to close our hatchery, quarantine the affected farms and restrict the movements of ducklings. Additionally, to date the GLDA’s Duck Unit at Mon Repos has not been affected or has shown any signs or symptoms of this disease. Therefore, we are convinced that this outbreak affected only those six farms that we have quarantined that toll hatch at the GLDA hatchery. Further in order for us at the GLDA to continue to provide quality breeding material to the duck farming community we have imported 1400 breeding ducklings which will assist in the rebuilding of the sector.

This disease has not manifested itself in the other poultry sectors, chicken, turkey and Guinea bird, and was only observed in Muscovy ducklings between the ages of 3 to 15 days old. We would wish to assure that it is safe to consume all poultry products, including ducks.

Further, based on investigations should this disease be confirmed by the laboratory, as Duck Viral Hepatitis, it is our believe that this disease was introduced into Guyana by perhaps the illegal importation of hatching eggs or ducklings.

The GLDA takes this opportunity to remind the public in general and all livestock farmers in particular, that the illegal importation of livestock and livestock products into Guyana poses serious risk to the health of humans and animals since it prohibits our ability to ensure that whatever is imported is free from diseases.

Apart, from our suspicions of the smuggling of hatching eggs and ducklings we have encountered too many cases of the smuggling of dogs and birds into Guyana. Dogs are affected by numerous diseases that are both detrimental to humans and animals such as rabies and leptospirosis, while birds can be affected by avian influenza, amongst other diseases.  The general public is hereby encouraged to partner with the GLDA in safeguarding the health of the nation by reporting all instances of illegal animal import (smuggling) to the GLDA or the nearest Police Station. Information provided to GLDA will be treated with strict confidentiality.

We could be contacted on the numbers 592-220-6556 or 220-6557 or e-mail at glda1910@gmail.com

Thank You

Management of GLDA.

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