President urges farmers to move in a modern direction – as land titles given out at MMA Open day
Georgetown, GINA October 05, 2011
Source - GINA
President Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud assists PPP Presidential candidate Donald Ramotar in a tree planting exercise during MMA day
Farmers were encouraged to keep abreast with modern approaches to agriculture as the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary/Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) hosted an open day exercise as activities to mark Agriculture month continued.
The Bath, West Coast Berbice tarmac was the venue for the event which saw displays of raw and manufactured agriculture products, by the Guyana Agriculture Producers Association, the Guyana School of Agriculture, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Central Mahaicony, Perth Village Farmers’ Association and the Region Five Craft Production booth.
President Bharrat Jagdeo speaking to farmers during MMA day at Bath, West Coast Berbice
President Bharrat Jagdeo who was part of the event assured farmers that agriculture has a special place in the new economy his administration is crafting where hydropower, fibre optic cable driven telecommunications, eco-tourism and the environmental sector are given prominence.
Presidential Candidate for the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Donald Ramotar and Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud and Head of the MMA/ADA Rudolph Gajraj were among those who spoke to the large gathering that converged on the tarmac.
Land titles for farmers in Naarstigheid, Experiment, Bath, Hopetown, Mahaicony River (right and left banks) and Bushlot were given out allowing rent free, leases for a 99-year duration.
Hopetown was represented by a co-op society and was leased 885 acres, while Experiment and Bath were given 95 acres and 150 acres respectively.
Land distribution for Region Five farmers falls within the ambit of the MMA which has been able to fastrack and complete the land title process for the aforementioned villages.
It was under the PPP/C administration that the lands were made available after they were recouped following negotiations with Sankar investors for the benefit of residents in the aforementioned areas. It was seen as an incentive for the residents who were employees of estates in the area.
Many of the recipients took the opportunity to publicly thank the President, his administration and the MMA for providing them with the authorization to lands which they have longed to occupy.
PPP Presidential candidate Donald Ramotar distributing land titles to farmers during MMA day at Bath, West Coast Berbice
Ramotar said the abundance of land and freshwater in Guyana is a blessing and must be preserved given predictions which suggest that there will be a scarcity of these precious resources.
“Some leading thinkers in the world believe… that in the future, the major wars will be for fresh water because that is running out … we are blessed with lands and we have a lot of freshwater. That is one of the reasons we should not waste it,” Ramotar said.
The Presidential candidate appealed to farmers to be cognizant that a food crisis is still a threat and recalled that only a few years ago the sharp increase in food prices around the world sparked protests and riots in Tunisia.
Government’s vision for the agriculture sector and its relevance to a world moving rapidly ahead with population growth and global demand correlating was shared by President Jagdeo in his remarks to the farmers.
“Some nine billion people will be in the world in another 30 years (and) they will need food. The demand for food grows because people’s consumption pattern changes when their income changes,” President Jagdeo said.
In this regard President Jagdeo encouraged farmers to shift thinking in the approaches to agriculture, away from the practices that are common today and adopt innovative methods.
He made reference to large scale plantation agriculture which is at present being conducted in the Rupununi and intermediate savannahs which can lead to a range of auxiliary services such as transport, processing, shipping, airfreight and agribusiness infrastructure.
A section of the large gathering during MMA day at Bath, West Coast Berbice
The application of science and technology to the agriculture sector was also touted as important and President Jagdeo spoke of plans to construct a tissue culture lab that will see high level propagation of planting material to maintain productivity.
“Some people think agriculture is only rice and sugar, but agriculture spans a whole range of issues in the country, a whole range of sectors… I ask each farmer in here to move in that direction,” President Jagdeo said.
Agriculture month activities are being held under theme “Sustaining Food and Nutrition Security in Guyana” and Minister Persaud hailed the decision to hold today’s activity in Region Five which is leading in the scale of rice, cattle and a rapidly emerging aquaculture sector.
He assured that very soon more leases will be made to other farmers and spoke of the heavy investments made in the Region in recent years, referring to the drying floors, support to nontraditional farmers and the deployment of an excavator to support aquaculture.
The remaining activities to mark agriculture month are the livestock product development and exhibition at the Guyana Livestock Development Authority in Mon Repos, inspection of the spice project in Mabaruma, Region One, World Food Day observance, commissioning of the Les Beholden Rice Investment and Burma Rice Research station open day, commissioning of the Linden Kiln drying facility and a tour of the Hope Canal Project.