–approximately 200 cattle farmers to benefit
With the government signaling its intention to develop the country’s livestock industry, the Ministry of Agriculture through the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has moved to assist farmers across the country with developing pastures to secure their animals.
On Saturday last, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha handed over approximately $3 million worth of fencing material to members of the Yakusari Cattle Association Corporation.
The materials will be used to upgrade approximately 1,500 acres of farmland in Black Bush Polder that have been designated for cattle grazing.
The minister was at the time in the region hosting a series of farmers’ meetings as a follow-up commitment made by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during the recent Cabinet Outreach in Region Six.
The materials consisted of fifty (50) 500-metre rolls of wire and 1,200 wallaba posts and will benefit approximately 200 cattle farmers and 3,000 heads of cattle.
During the exercise which took place at the Number 36 Village Primary School on the Corentyne Coast, Minister Mustapha said prior to the engagement, he met with farmers and committed to assisting them with the materials to fence the communal pasture in the area.
“When we met with the farmers Black Bush Polder, we made a commitment to assist with developing a pasture because the rice farmers were saying that the cows are destroying their rice. Today, I’m here to deliver on that commitment so that the cattle farmers can have a secure area to graze their cattle and the rice farmers can protect their crops. The farmers will be able to use these materials to fence the designated pasture lands so that the cows cannot destroy the rice farmers’ rice,” the minister noted.
Further, Minister Mustapha told the farmers that the Ministry of Agriculture has been working with other cattle farmers to develop their pastures.
“This is not the only area that we’ve done. Recently we fenced an area from Number 52 to Number 64 (Village) to prevent the cattle from destroying the rice. So, all across the country we’ve been meeting with farmers and listing to their concerns. We’ve been working with them. The issues between rice and cattle farmers are not new and as a government, we have to protect and develop both industries” he added.
With the emerging oil and gas sector bringing hundreds of expatriates to Guyana, Minister Mustapha told the farmers that the government is working to provide an enabling environment for small cattle farmers to be able to supply those new market demands for special cuts of meat.
“We have a number of investors coming into the country to look at developing our cattle industry and increasing the cattle population as well as the small ruminant industry. Only recently the President launched the Black Belly Sheep project where almost 1,000 Black Belly Sheep will be brought from Barbados to start an industry here. So, you can see our efforts are not geared toward developing only the rice, sugar, and cash crop industries. Our goal is to develop the entire sector. We are also looking to partner with a private investor to build a modern abattoir at Rising Sun. We are now an oil and gas producing nation and the demand for special cuts of meat to satisfy the demands has to be met. We want our farmers to benefit from that market so we’ve been working with them so that they can be a part of the local content,” he noted.
The farmers thanked the minister for the wire and said that it will help them with improving the relationship between cattle farmers and rice farmers in the area, as the animals will now be housed in a secure area.