MMA scheme expected to break rice production records in first crop of 2024 – Min. Mustapha

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha has expressed optimism that the Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary (MMA) scheme will achieve record-breaking rice production acreage in the first crop of 2024. This ambitious goal is fueled by significant investments and various tangible initiatives being implemented to support farmers in the area.

Addressing the annual open day on Saturday at the Mahaica- Mahaicony -Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) office at Onverwagt in Region Five, Minister Mustapha highlighted the achievements and transformation plans that are paving the way for this record-breaking harvest.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha addressing the gathering at the Open Day

“This is a scheme that helps us to increase our agricultural output production, productivity and growth in the agriculture sector. We will continue to put systems in place to ensure that farmers receive the necessary support,” he assured the farmers.

In three years, farmers in the scheme have significantly benefitted from various initiatives, as they received 31,659 bags of fertiliser and 11,688 bags of seed paddy to increase their yield.

Minister Mustapha hands over the lease to a farmer

The developmental plans, Minister Mustapha stated, will contribute to Guyana attaining food security.

To further develop agriculture in the region, the minister alluded to the 20,000 acres of new land that will be developed in the scheme.

Minister Mustapha hands over the lease to a farmer

“We can work with farmers who do not have lands, so that we can give them land. We are hoping that for the first crop of 2024, we will see a record-breaking production acreage be cultivated too, but we will have to have proper irrigation or enough irrigation water,” Minister Mustapha underlined.

He emphasised that the region has six brand-new excavators to improve drainage and irrigation, which boosted food production in the MMA scheme.

Recognising the exorbitant costs faced by some farmers due to land rental, Minister Mustapha announced that a document outlining proposed solutions is being prepared by the Chairman of the land committee, Andrew Bishop. This document will be presented to President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and the Cabinet for consideration and approval.

A section of the gathering at the Open Day

In a step towards addressing land access issues, a total of 12 approved land leases were handed over to farmers.

The agriculture minister stressed, We are trying to bring down the costs of production. When you bring down the cost of production, you, the farmers will enjoy a better profit. You will have better income and also the population will enjoy cheaper prices.”

Shortly, the region will benefit from the construction of a hydroponics farm, where hundreds of young people will be involved in the production of high-quality, leafy vegetables.

Meanwhile, the Quality Control Manager at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Marsha Hohenkirk said that the GRDB will continue to work in close collaboration with MMA-ADA to improve rice production in the area, while improving the livelihoods of farmers.

Over 100,000 acres of rice is cultivated per crop producing over 3 million bags of paddy.

For the first crop of 2024, approximately 95,000 acres of land have been prepared, which is an increase of 5,000 acres over the second crop of 2023.

Vice Chairman of the MMA-ADA Board of Directors, Mohammed Rafeeoodeen, during brief remarks, urged farmers to conserve fresh water, especially for the 2024 crop.

New Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), GuyDrones, Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), University of Guyana, and the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) had various agricultural products on display at the open day.

NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jagnarine Singh, Chief Fisheries Officer, Denzil Roberts, NDIA’s Chairman, Lionel Wordsworth, Regional Chairman of Region Five, Vickchand Ramphal, Member of Parliament, Faizal Jafferally, and other technical officers and staff of the ministry were also at the event.