– small-scale Linden farmers to be given priority- Min. Mustapha
The Ministry of Agriculture is working to change the perception of Linden, Region 10 from just a mining community to an agriculture destination, as the government commits to advancing the diversification of the agriculture sector.
The government passed the Industrial Hemp Act in August this year, paving the way for the decriminalisation of industrial hemp in Guyana and opening up additional economic and agricultural opportunities for farmers.
Region Six and 10 have been earmarked for the development of the new industry and Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha assured small-scale farmers in Linden that they will be given priority.
“If a small-scale farmer plants an acre of hemp, that can sustain farmers for the entire year and ensure that he has enough money to take care of his family and other necessary basic things…. we already decided, we already looking at it, that we will not give large scale farmers to take hundreds and thousands of acres, we will look at the small holding farmers to give them one and two acres so that we can get several persons involved in this lucrative crop.”
The Ministry of Agriculture is currently establishing the Guyana Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority. The regulatory body will accept applications for licenses to cultivate industrial hemp.
“We are now in the process of setting up the regulatory authority when that comes into being, you, the small farmers, will have the kind of benefit to start planting an acre, two acres of hemp, which is a very lucrative crop.
“Coming out of hemp, you can have raw materials for anything, soap, rope, clothes, you name it, and we are looking to build a refinery in the country so that you can have a ready market for this crop. So, that is a plus for you,” Minister Mustapha relayed.
The minister also urged farmers to work collaboratively to make Region 10 an important player in the agriculture sector.