The government has invested more than $2.2 billion to enhance food production in Amerindian communities over the past three years, demonstrating its strong commitment to prioritise food security.
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, emphasised the point during an insightful presentation at the ongoing National Toshaos Council (NTC) Conference, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Wednesday.
“We are working on a programme to continue the progress that we have made over the last three years. At the end of this year, we are hoping that we will expend and complete a programme of $1.3 billion additional to that $2.2 billion,” the minister underscored.
Several of the Amerindian communities have benefitted from agricultural inputs and equipment to boost production there.
These interventions include acouchi ants’ bait, chemicals, artificial insemination, tractors, aquaculture and cage culture fishing, seeds and seedlings, and breeding animals.
The agriculture minister noted that a programme has to be developed for acres of land to be impoldered, for the areas to be developed as farmlands.
He added that “52,000 black giant chickens were distributed across hinterland communities. And we will continue that programme until it reaches all the hinterland communities.”
Additionally, the government has conducted drainage and irrigation works to improve access to farmlands which will boost production.
This year, the government intends to install several cages in various hinterland communities to ensure residents there are involved in cage culture.
Relative to rice production, some 40 acres of rice are now being cultivated in Region Nine and the initiative is expected to be replicated in other regions.
“We have our technical staff who will work with you to help to ensure that we continue that programme in the other regions – One, Seven, and Eight…We will continue to support you. We don’t want your economy to be on a subsistence basis. We want these village economies to be resilient and strong,” Minister Mustapha noted.