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A US$43M rice project will be implemented in three communities in Region Eight, to support food security and self-sufficiency of hinterland communities.Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, during a visit to that region over the past two days, told residents that the issue of food security in the hinterland is being taken seriously, while, at the same time, attempts are being made to improve the earnings of Amerindian villages.Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud meeting with students at Paramakatoi All the difficulties facing Region Eight farmers were highlighted when the minister extended the ‘Grow More’ food’ campaign at Monkey Mountain, Paramakatoi, Kurukabaru and Mahdia.In observance of Amerindian Heritage Month, the Agriculture Ministry has planned a series of outreach activities to meet with farmers and other residents of hinterland communities to discuss existing hindrances and possible solutions, with the aim of boosting cultivation.Complaints about deplorable roads, transportation, cattle rearing, acoushi ants, the need for agriculture science to be made compulsory in the schools’ curriculum, need for extension officers, the high cost of food items, and land title issues were raised when the minister visited the various communities.Speaking to residents of Monkey Mountain and surrounding communities, Persaud said that his ministry is attempting to assist, from an agricultural standpoint, with the stimulation of economic development to ensure food security within the hinterland.He said that he is aware of the fact that the cost of transporting food to hinterland locations is high, and as such it is important that remote and isolated areas become food secure.The minister pointed out that hinterland communities are vulnerable to food shortages.In one instance, he added,Cheap Jerseys China, there was need for an emergency shipment of food to be taken to a hinterland community by the army, because of extensive shortage.Addressing the gathering at the Monkey Mountain Community Centre, Persaud encouraged farmers to plant in a sensible manner.Residents of Paramakatoi collecting planting materialsHe told them that,NFL Jerseys China, because of their geographic location, they should produce only that which they can consume.One resident told the minister that while he agrees with many of the plans for the development of hinterland communities, all of the efforts will go in vain if there are no proper roads.Because of the lack of proper road facilities in the Monkey Mountain area, residents pointed out,Cheap NFL Jerseys, basic food commodities are being sold at a high cost. One pound of chicken, a resident said, costs $800.Responding to the issue of the roads,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, Minister Persaud said that for many years there have been approaches about how to tackle the land transportation issue.The difficulty in having an all-weather road, he said, is the size of the population as well as the amount of economic activities in the communities.In Region Eight, he noted, emphasis will be placed on growing four types of spices.“Spices have a longer shelf life…it is not perishable over a short period, and then the community can engage in some form of packaging. We have targeted four spices. We are looking at black pepper, turmeric, ginger and nutmeg.”In this regard, an approach was made to the Indian Government for assistance, and a spice expert from that country was sent to Guyana for a two-year period.That expert, Dr. Sashi Kumar, will we working along with communities to get the project started.“For the past two to three months, the expert has been here. He has already been going out to some of the hinterland communities to look at the possibilities… and will be developing with communities some of the systems, the training and conditions that we would need.”The second area where emphasis will be placed on in Region Eight is the rice project.Paramakatoi, Kato and Kurukabaru have been identified for the project, while similar support will also be extended to Region Nine.The project will receive assistance from the Guyana Rice Development Board, the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).“There were some attempts to start rice growing in Paramakatoi and Kato, but because of the lack of support, this was not successful. When you mill rice,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, there are certain by-products, and these can also be converted into animal feed.”Regarding the need for extension officers in the various communities, Persaud has made a call for one person to be identified from the communities and be trained through the Ministry of Agriculture.That person, he said, will receive a stipend and be able to service the farmers in the communities.At present, he said, he and the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Campbell, are currently working on a project which will see the Amerindian Affairs Ministry leading-on a food security project to hinterland communities.Persaud added that while there are obvious social enhancements of the communities, the economic earnings of the Amerindian villages have not grown with those developments.The interventions are intended to positively affect the economic structures of earnings of the communities.Meanwhile, residents of Paramakatoi are advocating for firearm licenses.Residents told the Agriculture Minister that wild animals are significantly affecting their crops and livestock. Persaud pointed out that he will relay their concerns to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has the jurisdiction over such matters.Requests were also made for farming equipment. At all of the communities visited, planting materials, ant bait and cattle medications were distributed to residents.A fogging machine was also left with residents of Paramakatoi, but this would be shared with surrounding communities.The minister also used the opportunity to meet with students from the various schools within the communities he visited.Accompanying Minister Persaud were Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Director of NARI; Dr. Sashi Kumar,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, Indian Spice Expert; John Woolford, Technical Manager of the Ministry of Agriculture; Shyam Nokta, Chairman of the National Climate Change Committee; and Bhaleka Seulall, Chief Hydromet Officer. (Tusika Martin)
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