The Ministry of Agriculture received equipment valued at $150 million through its Sustainable Agriculture Development Programme (SADP) with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The equipment will strengthen the ministry’s extension services to small and medium-scale farmers in Regions Two to Six and Ten.
The handing over ceremony took place on Tuesday in the ministry’s compound in Georgetown.
During the simple ceremony, Minister Mustapha noted that extension officers have a critical role to play in the development of Guyana’s agriculture sector.
“If we are to satisfy the needs of our people and if we are to contribute meaningfully to meeting Caricom’s 25 by 2025 food import bill reduction, then our extension officers have that critical role to play. They have to give that kind of guidance that ensures our farmers implement best practices and impart the requisite knowledge that will increase production” the minister said.
Meanwhile, IDB Representative Lorena Solórzano-Salazar in her remarks, noted that the partnership between the Government of Guyana and the IDB in strengthening agricultural extension services will bring multiple benefits to small and medium-scale farmers.
“Extension services are known to greatly increase the productivity and income to low-income farmers… especially in terms of distance, transportation and having access to markets,” she said.
The assets included six 4×4 pickup-type vehicles, six all-terrain vehicles, six outboard boats and engines, and 24 off-road motorcycles, which were procured through funding under the Ministry’s Agriculture Sector Development Unit.
The equipment will be allocated to various agencies such as the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) targeting farmers in far-flung areas where access is usually an issue.
In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture recently hosted its’ first extension service training exercise in keeping with the government’s plan of revamping extension services and improving farmers’ productive capacity, which will contribute significantly to Guyana’s food security agenda.
The Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj, Permanent Secretary Delma Nedd, and other staff of the ministry and IDB were also in attendance.