The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has invested $109.7Million in the establishment of a state-of-the-art seed cleaning facility at the Burma Rice Research Station, in Region Five.
The seed cleaner equipment cost $99.3Million while renovation to the existing building was completed for $10.4Million.
, Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Noel Holder commissioned the ‘Superbrix’ 10-tonne seed cleaner. He noted that the modernised facility will continue to provide good quality seed and better-quality seeds increases yield by 10-15 percent.
“The previous 2-tonne seed cleaner required that operations be done on a 24-hour basis when seeds were being cleaned. This was procured and installed over ten years ago,” Minister Holder reminded.
With this new high-quality system, the minister said, the Burma Rice Research Station will now be able to clean seed that it produces at a faster rate, thus reducing extended working hours.
He added that there is a cost attached for private seed growers who wish to utilise the services offered by the GRDB.
The rice research station has over the years made remarkable strides. Nineteen rice varieties along with the production packages were developed which contributed to the boom in the productivity of farm levels.
The national average has moved to 5.9 hectares compared to about 4 hectares ten years ago.
Also present at the formal event was the GRDB’s General Manager, Nizam Hassan, Deputy General Manager Allison Peters and Chief Technical Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis.
A $7.3Million 30-seater school bus has been handed over to the community of Burma in the Mahaica-Berbice region.
The Ministry of Agriculture through the Mahaica Abary Rice Development Scheme and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure jointly donated the vehicle following a request from residents.
The bus will serve students from communities along the Burma Road, including Augsburg, Catherina and Champagne.
According to Minister of Agriculture Hon. Noel Holder, the new service will save time and money for the farming families and reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
Public Infrastructure Minister, the Hon. David Patterson remarked that while the communities have several needs, the provision of the school bus was one of the “low hanging fruits” for the government.
Pointing to a brighter future for Guyana’s children, Minister Patterson said that the education sector was poised for greatness in the ‘Decade of Development’ announced by His Excellency President David Granger on January 1.
“Do not only drop these children to school but also use the bus to expand the student’s horizon,” Minister Patterson further urged.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon Minister Holder handed over a tractor and implements valued at
to the Hope Coconut Industries Limited (HCIL).
The implements include a four-disk plough, a twenty-disk harrow and a ditcher.
“This will strengthen the capacity of Hope Estate to provide land preparation services to the small cash crop farmers and maintain 77km of access dams in the estate. Two hundred and sixty cash crop farmers with approximately 952 acres under cultivation will directly benefit from this donation,” Minister Holder stated.
Mahadeo Mohabir, one of the beneficiaries, said he had to plough his land manually before the tractor was donated. “We glad we get this tractor now; it is a big help. Thanks to the Minister and all who donated it,” the cash crop farmer said.
With the donation, Boodhnarine Ramdas, another farmer said he no longer had to pay workers to take days to cultivate his farm. “This can be done in two hours the most.”
Twenty-four residents of Kwakwani Upper Demerara- Berbice, on Friday received leases from the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) for the very first time.
The leases were presented by Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Hon. Valarie Yearwood and Manager of the Commission’s Secretariat, Durwin Humphrey who represented GLSC Commissioner Trevor Benn at the handing over ceremony.
The process began in October 2017, when the Kwakwani Neighborhood Democratic Council dispatched a letter to the Commission raising several concerns which residents brought to their attention as it relates to the security of their lands.
Commissioner Trevor Benn later responded and led a team to the area on a fact-finding mission. At that time, Benn had assured the residents then that he will ensure that their matters are resolved once all the groundwork are completed.
Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Hon. Valarie Adams-Yearwood was also involved in the process. The residents had reached out to her when she served as Minister responsible for the Central Housing and Planning Authority.
“You are deserving of your leases, and I am happy with the work the Guyana Lands and Surveys has done,” the Minister told the residents.
“The Commission had several engagements with you and it was not easy and it was not cheap. These leases cost the Commission, but I am happy that finally this part is over and I want to say that this is another promise delivered. I am urging you to kindly make the land work for you. Now that you have the security for your land you can finally start expanding your business or your homes” The Minister urged.
Also, in brief remarks, Manager of the Commission’s Secretariat, Durwin Humphrey, urged the residents to make good use of their titles which they had to wait decades to receive.
“These hardworking families are well- deserving of these leases, these families previously had no title, no security of tenure, for their land which they well deserve and we are happy that we can provide them with these titles,” Humphrey stated
He encouraged the landowners to take advantage of these titles and invest in their homes and businesses.
On Thursday in a similar exercise, the GLSC delivered some 36 leases to the residents of Nurney/Kildonan in Region Six.
SEVERAL nonagenarians of Linden were recently honoured by the Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Valerie Adams-Yearwood for their contribution to the development of the mining town over the years.
The occasion saw 10 seniors who would have played a critical role in the development of their communities being visited and presented with tokens of appreciation by Minister Adams-Yearwood.
Among the honourees are retired nurses, and regional councillors and staff of the now defunct Demerara Bauxite Company Limited (DEMBA).
While addressing the gathering, Minister Adams-Yearwood reflected on her encounters growing up as a young Lindener with the honourees.
“I remember, as a child, my sister and I would run into Ms. Stella (an honouree)’s yard and pick her fruits from her tree. She never knew it was us, but later she would come to mommy and say, ‘These children around here always in my yard.’ I also remember eating food from some of you. We lived in love, and respected our elders,” Minister Adams-Yearwood recalled.
She also spoke of the valuable lessons taught by the elders, one of which is that money should not be the only motivator in life, but rather the long-term gains and benefits of to one’s self and community.
The minister, while thanking the township’s elderly, noted that it is important to honour persons who would have served and are still serving their country while paving the way for the many generations to come.
Among the honourees were Charlotte London, Clara Daniels, and Ula Morris, all 90 years old; Doris Fraser, Inese Lewis and Daisy Sampson, all 91, and Stella Goppy and Selena Joseph, both 93.
The elderly persons expressed sincere gratitude to the minister of agriculture for the kind gesture.
―Wales Estate to receive US$2M Agro-Industrial Park
―“We are on the right path to success” – Min. Valerie Yearwood
The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has announced plans to establish an agro-industrial park at the Wales Sugar Estate on the West Bank Demerara.
The venture is a collaboration between NICIL and the Caribbean Marketing Enterprise Incorporated (CMEI) with some 200 acres earmarked for the centre.
The initiative will generate a multi-million-dollar platform to showcase Guyana’s produce to the region and international markets and improve strides in the agricultural and other major industries locally.
NICIL representative Rachel Henry told the media on Thursday that the agency was living up to its motto of “Vision to Change” with this latest initiative and others like the construction of the AC Marriott Hotel at Ogle.
“We utilise the lands that were once demarcated for sugar cane to produce something tangible, something that expresses revolutionary, transformative change for the people of Guyana,” Henry said.
CEO of Energy Real Estate Solutions (ERES), Mike Elliot, whose company is part of CMEI, said there was a demand for Guyana’s vital products.
“It’s our job as a team, to figure out and come up with the best plan to get your products to market. So, through a public partnership, it is our vision to create an industrial park that will have cold storage and food processing components.”
Minister with responsibility for Rural Affairs, Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood commended NICIL for its support and determination to transform the agriculture sector.
“The facility that we will see very soon is a result of foresight. Only people with vision will even attempt a state-of-the-art facility without money,” she declared.
─Agri Ministry awards kitchen garden contest winners
The Ministry of Agriculture Rural Affairs Secretariat brought down the curtains on its Kitchen Garden competition with the announcement of the winners on Friday.
Seventy gardens were judged and the overall winners are in first place Frank Moore from Region 10 while Mabuba Muhammad from Region six was given second and Panchan Singh from Region Nine third.
They each won cash prizes of $150,000, $100,000 and $50,000 respectively. The regional first to third place winners were given agricultural hampers.
Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, with responsibility for Rural Affairs, the Hon. Valerie Adams- Yearwood noted that the competition was well received.
“We were able to run the competition to Region Four, more specifically, the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara, in Region Five from Fort Wellington to Bush Lot, Region Six, from Number 53 Union to Kildonan, Region Nine, from Lethem to St. Ignatius and in Region ten. I must say the competition received an overwhelming response.”
The competition formed part of the ministry’s activities to observe celebrate Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary and to stimulate interest in agriculture with a focus on households being able to contribute to their food needs.
It was also disclosed that 34 model kitchen gardens were established in health facilities across the Demerara-Mahaica region. These were part of the Guyana Re- aligning Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health (GRAIN-H) initiative which was launched in September 2019.
The project is a collaboration between the Ministry’s Rural Affairs Secretariat and the Region Four Health Department and
It encourages persons who attend non- communicable disease, parental and geriatric clinics to participate in a study to assess the relationship between the consumption of organic foods and appropriate portion size, reducing health risks in conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
Regional Health Officer for Region 4, Dr. Quincy Jones explained that “Both health workers and patients had the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge on how to grow healthy foods in their own backyards.”
“The projects started change through communication for a development type model, where over these model gardens, patient and health workers not only had a chance to exchange knowledge but to initiate behavioural change that would lead them to prepare more healthier meals,” Dr. Jones added
The health centres were also mandated to keep records of the participating patients and at the end of the pilot, report any changes in their health conditions.
The Ministry will roll out the second Kitchen Garden Competition in May 2020 in all ten administrative regions.
– weather and climate monitoring and prediction to be expanded
(Hydromet Department Release)
Guyana is significantly vulnerable to natural disasters caused by Hydrometeorological phenomena, such as floods, thunderstorms and droughts. This vulnerability urges the Guyanese government to be equipped with a real-time monitoring, prediction and prevention of weather-related risks system to better respond to emergencies.
This is why the DEWETRA platform comes in handy– a fully operational platform aimed at multi-risk mapping, forecasting and monitoring, which allows a better reading and understanding of climate phenomena and their impact on the population, and a more efficient reaction to emergencies.
Under the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-EU-Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management (CDB-NDRM) programme funded by the European Union (EU), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is conducting an in-country training workshop on the Caribbean DEWETRA Platform from February 3- 5, 2020.
The workshop hosted by the Hydrometeorological Service will include technical officers from the hydro-meteorological, disaster management and planning community. The course is aimed at building further capacity and to provide an intensive training on the use of the platform to the personnel. The participants will be given access to the platform and its operational tools (observational, forecasts and static data) that can help to develop procedures for prediction, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters, with a particular emphasis to the development of an early warning system.
During the opening session of the workshop, Dr. Garvin Cummings, Chief Hydrometeorological Officer, underscored the importance of inter-agency collaboration and the implementation of the training in the everyday use of the participants and agencies represented.
“…[DEWETRA] is a tool that can be used to improve the services that the Hydromet Service and other agencies with similar interest provide with regard to disaster risk reduction, hydrometeorology and climate. It is important that we use this training exercise as an opportunity to work more closely with each other and ensure that what is learnt is implemented so that Guyana continues to benefit.”
Apart from forecasting and monitoring climate, the platform is expected to focus primarily on providing Pre and Post impact assessments which will safeguard the health and property of Guyanese citizens.
Mr. Sean Boyce, the Chief Hydrologist at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Project Coordinator of the workshop elaborated that, “The Platform will provide impact forecasting which takes into consideration infrastructure impacted by the event. The combination of information from various sources, whether it be a water level station right here in Guyana, global satellite data or forecast information provided by the National Weather Watch Centre will help give a broader picture of what will happen in the future.”
Approximately 15 participants from the Hydrometeorological Service and the Civil Defense Commission will be participating in the three-day exercise.
Several former sugar workers of the Wales estate have expressed thanks to NICIL for affording them lands so that they can do farming. The workers who were all terminated when the Wales estate closed, said that they turned to farming recognizing that with sugar no longer profitable it was time that they get involved in something else.
Site Supervisor of the former Wales Estate, Haribhajan Persaud said that they continue to be a ‘mad rush’ for lands from a number of persons, noting that several former sugar workers, including prominent large-scale businessmen and foreign investors are among those seeking lands. He said that unlike several other closed sugar factory Wales had to take a different approach owing to the fact that they no longer had a factory.
Persaud disclosed that they have been leasing lands for agricultural purposes, stressing that several investors and small farmers have been benefiting. However, several of those small farmers are former employees who have declared that they are pleased and satisfied that they are able to still earn a living through their agricultural investment.
“Several persons are already in their lands and while we have not completed distribution we have already given out as there are far more applications than what is available as there is a ‘a mad rush’ for the lands here,” he said.
He disclosed that of the 7943 acres of land that the estate owns, NICIL set aside 1000 acres for their own cultivation of rice. He disclosed that originally, they had conceptualized doing seed paddy in an effort to assist the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) as they were doing this in collaboration with them. He noted that they have ventured into rice production and have already cultivated five crops since the last half of 2017. Persaud said that they are pleased to see that several former sugar workers are coming up with various business ideas in agriculture, stressing that they are mainly seeking land for cash crops in passion fruit and citrus and cattle rearing.
“Several of the former sugar workers who have secured lands here are into cash crops where they plant mainly passion fruits and citrus, while some are doing cattle rearing as they seek to continue creating employment for themselves. We are pleased with this as the interest continues to grow and we are seeing more and more former sugar workers, who initially were reluctant to secure lands now coming forward to garner lands for various types of agricultural related business,” the Estate Site Supervisor said.
He disclosed that some have already harvested, while others are harvesting again as they continue to maximize the lands that once were used for sugar. He said that the cash crops are being planted on arable lands, which are fertile lands, while those into cattle rearing are doing this on marginal lands. He said that the marginal lands don’t support agriculture but grows mainly pasture grass.
Among some of the several former ex sugar workers who have secured land and have ventured into agriculture are Jaipaul Thakur who is currently into cattle rearing, Owen Phillips cattle rearing, Mohamed Rasheed cattle rearing, Lindon Phoenix cattle rearing, Harry Ketwaroo Mixed crops, Dhanpaul Samaroo who is into cash crop farmer.
The farmers who have all worked in excess of fifteen years each at GUYSUCO. Several of the farmers said that they opted to access the lands as they wanted to continue providing employment for themselves. They all expressed thanks to the government, stressing that it has certainly enhanced their ability to live comfortably despite no longer being employed at GUYSUCO. “We are very thankful for the land that was given by the government as while I no longer have employment with GUYSUCO I can now earn a living form my cash crops,” Samaroo said. Another farmer in Harry Ketwaroo noted that after working at GUYSUCO for most of his life he was excited to have secured land to plant mixed drops which he said is doing well and he had no regrets in venturing into this area of agriculture. “When many thought that it was the end for us because we all lost our jobs I recognized that I can get into mixed crops production and after the lands became available, I took full opportunity of it and today I am doing so well with my farming and earning enough to take care of my self and family,” he said. Mohamed Rasheed said that after the closured of the estate he already knew that he wanted to rear cattle as this was an ideal way for him to garner an income for himself and family. “I opted to get into cattle rearing, as I found that it is what has the money that I can secure to take care of myself and family. After finding out that the lands were available, I decided to make the best use of it by getting into cattle rearing. I am deeply thankful for the land as it has afforded me an opportunity to continue earning,” he declared.