The government is expected to address the issue of land leases in Region six as early as possible. This issue was raised when Agriculture Minister along with Attorney General Anil Nandlall and other officials met with rice and cattle farmers on the Corentyne on Thursday.
At that meeting, one farmer related that he was among 19 persons who applied for the leases after completing the necessary work and was granted permission from the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission. He explained he completed the necessary survey and was paid but after the change in government 2015, he said farmers “were given the royal run around” to access the lands.
The Regional Democratic Council was then instructed by the Agriculture Minister to ascertain the number of rice farmers who had applied after which the Ministry intends fast track the process. Minister Mustapha promised to address the issuance of leases as he said that the Minister of Legal Affairs will be dealing with the legal aspects of the over 26 leases to ensure that the rice farmers have access to the lands they had applied for.
Another farmer called for a special area to rear cattle since roaming cattle tend to move to other lands and destroy crops. Responding to the claims by the farmer, Mustapha says there are more than 17,000 acres of cattle pasture that was surveyed by the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission.
“And those land we will develop the pasture and leave it as communal pasture we will not give out individual land but we will ask the farmers to use it collectively as communal pasture we will try to ensure that we develop it properly and also what we will be doing we will try to establish …to determine how many cows or cattle exist in this area here.” He added.
The Agriculture Minister also noted that a $1.7B dollar all weather road is also on stream for East Berbice Corentyne that will see the opening of new agriculture land for both rice and cattle farmers. This is expected to double production within the region. However, during the outreach the location of the all-weather road came into question and the Minister agreed to revisit the plan moving forward.
“We are hearing here that the region that was task with doing the consultation we are hearing here that no decision was made to do the road at 52 so what I have decided is that will send back my technical people to look at the 58 where majority of people agreed on so they will be looking at that area then I will talk with the president to see whether we will have to move it from 52 to 58.”
He says in event Government move ahead with the construction of the road at 52 village persons can rest assure that another one will be constructed at number 58 village on the Corentyne.