Minister Mustapha arriving at a solution for cattle farmers on Wednesday
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha Wednesday visited several communities along the East Coast Demerara to address a number of complaints the ministry has been receiving from residents who are located in predominantly farming areas.
Accompanying the minister were technical personnel from the ministry including reps from the National Drainage and Irrigation Department.
A group of farmers who met the minister at Hope Foreshore spoke of being unable to get access to adequate lands to graze their cattle as they have been competing for lands designated to graze their cattle and area controlled by the NDIA
Mustapha indicated to the cattle farmers that the issue would be addressed immediately as he passed specific instructions to the senior officers of the Ministry to immediately make adjustments to the existing posture so that the farmers can be accommodated with their cattle.
Meanwhile, over at Unity Back Dam, residents and farmers have expressed frustration with flooding of their homes and destruction to their cash crops due to flooding.
They explained that recently, lands not too far from their community were opened up for rice cultivation and farmers there have been storing water during the dry season.
Now that there has been excess rainfall over the last few days, that rainfall coupled with the water being stored by the rice farmers have become excess. This has resulted in the rice farmer releasing the excess water which is making its way into the community and affecting the residents and their cash crops in the Unity Back Dam area.
The ministry has decided to deploy machinery to the area from today, Thursday and that will help the residents with the clearing of the drains to allow the water coming from the rice plantation to be properly drained out of the community.
Residents have also been told that the ministry will be providing them with seeds and fertilizers to facilitate the restarting of their cash crop operations and kitchen gardens were applicable. The ministry’s team will also be engaging the rice farmers on the excess water and its release.
The final stop was Hope Estate, there; the team from the ministry heard complaints about heavy and farming machinery using the streets in the community to get to their farmlands as against using the designated area for them to access their farmlands.
Roads in the community are now becoming almost impassable due to their use by heavy machinery according to residents. They are therefore calling on the government to assist them in having the road fixed.
They also indicated that the roads in the community have not been fixed for more than twenty years. Minister Mustapha did assure the residents that he will engage the Minister of Public Works on the matter.