Agri. Minister commits to assisting Ann’s Grove farmers with drainage, other issues

On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister, Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha along with a team of officers from the Ministry of Agriculture returned to Ann’s Grove village on the East Coast of Demerara to meet with farmers and community members to discuss issues faced.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha while addressing the meeting

The meeting comes days after the minister accompanied Prime Minister, Mark Phillips, and other Cabinet Members met with residents at a community outreach as part of the government’s efforts to effectively address issues faced in communities across the country.

Farmers from Ann’s Grove, Clonbrook, Bee Hive, and other surrounding villages used the opportunity to raise issues about drainage, access to breeding animals, markets for their produce, and other inputs to advance farming in their communities.

A section of the meeting

Minister Mustapha, while addressing farmers said that the government has been aggressively working to ensure every village’s agriculture potential is realized. He noted that every community has a role to play and that resources will be made available to assist every farmer across the country.

While speaking on issues raised, Minister Mustapha said that the ministry through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance drainage and irrigation infrastructure in farming communities across the country.

A resident while raising an issue

He also said that the works being requested by residents will be done but it has to be undertaken in an organized way.

“All the D&I issues that were raised; we will do a work programme to guide the process. The engineers will visit all the areas to do an assessment. We’ll do a work programme so that we can decide which canals are a priority and we’ll do those ones first. I can assure you, that shortly, as soon as the work programme is done we start those works,” he said.

“I made a commitment last Saturday that we will deal with your drainage issues. I’ve asked NDIA to look at it and they’ve already started to do some work to ensure systems are being put in place to address those issues,” he noted.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while engaging farmers at the meeting in Ann’s Grove

In terms of access to markets for produce, Minister Mustapha said that there are readily available markets for Guyana’s produce in the region.

“GMC has an obligation to help farmers to get markets for their produce. I’m in constant contact with Ministers of Agriculture from across the region; countries like Trinidad and Barbados; and they are requesting fresh produce from Guyana. So, there are ready markets in the Caribbean for our farmers’ produce. We’ve also been working to remove those non-tariff barriers that affected exports to those countries so we’ll work with you to find markets,” he explained.

Farmers present also benefited from fertilizers and other inputs to assist with their farming activities.