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Ithaca farmers want a working relationship with government

Agriculture Minister Mustapha pose for a photo op with the newly formed CDC Group on Saturday 

Cash Crop and other farmers in Ithaca, West Bank Berbice on Saturday called on the government to ensure that goods and services intended for citizens should be provided to all citizens in an equitable manner.

This call was made by Michael Jacque who delivered opening remarks at a meeting in the village Saturday where he was elected as chairman of a Community Development Group for the area.

The election of the Chair and other members was done at the Ithaca Primary School and plays part of a direct response to the recent flooding countrywide which required the Ministry of Agriculture to be kept in the loop on how farmers were being affected.

Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha led a team from his ministry which comprised technical officers and regional extension, to Ithica in West Bank Berbice Region 5 before moving on to several other villages within Region 6.

The farmers in Ithica raised a number of issues with the Minister and his team, among them, the services which are provided by the extension and research offices in the region.

Minister Mustapha assured the residents that the ministry is working on a review of the operations at the offices there so that it can return to providing the services to the communities which it was first established to do.. that is to provide support to the farmers.

The Agri minister told the gathering that it is the intention of his ministry to work with all communities irrespective of their perceived political choices.

A Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three committee members were elected to form and function as part of the Community Development Council.

Utundy Grant was elected Vice Chairman, Jewel Sinclair was elected Secretary, Adrian Douglas was elected (in absentia) Treasurer while Jermaine Benjamine, Nikita Sampson and Akeela Benjmaine were elected committee members.

A section of the gathering on Saturday

The group it is expected, will serve as a direct link between the ministry and farmers. The group was already tasked with providing the ministry with a work plan and what is needed from the government to jump start the activities.

Minister Mustapha made it clear to residents that the group must represent their agricultural needs and interests and as such all residents should seek to have a voice through the group as the ministry is not in support of just addressing issues individually when it affects the entire community.

The group chairman noted that the group expects to have responses whenever they reach out to Central Government, the ministry or its agencies on behalf of Ithica residents.