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Minister of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock Mr. Satyadeow Sawh made this assertion last Thursday when he met with some 70 farmers from Bath Settlement and Hope Town on the West Coast of Berbice.
This was Sawh’s second visit in as many weeks to the area to check on the progress of the project and also to learn of new challenges facing the group.
The Minister informed the cash crop farmers that the Government of Guyana is proud of them.
“People like you who have congregated -- simple, humble people - are making an important contribution to the process of nation building,” Sawh declared.
The farmers are engaged in a large-scale cash crop farming project on approximately 300 ‘rods’ of land in the vicinity of Fort Wellington Village.
When the project started there was an urgent need for land and seeds, and for the installation of a water system.
The farmers were in need of a range of agricultural implements as well as technical advice. Sawh told the farmers Thursday that he was heartened by the progress the project had made since his first visit. The land was cleared, trenches dug for storing water, 80 per cent of the land had been fenced and on several lots there was evidence of various forms of cultivation.
The Minister had also lauded their dedication and commitment to a cooperative effort. He noted that the project has generated much interest in the community and that more persons were becoming involved in cash crop farming.
While urging the partners in the project to become even more involved and to seek a higher level of interaction, Sawh paid tribute to the diversity of ethnic groups and cultures merging into a single unit for a common purpose.
The Minister expressed his pleasure at being associated with the group, whose ultimate goals were to help feed the nation, to find a niche in the export market and to build a better Guyana as they meet these fine objectives.
Noting some of the many ills of society that provide false hope for young people, the Minister addressed the youths involved in the project and offered his heart-felt appreciation of their enterprising spirit. Sawh further urged the young people to continue their efforts at working earnestly at their livelihood.
During his visit to the agricultural project, Sawh presented 16 wheelbarrows, 24 files, nine rakes, nine axes, 16 cutlasses, 16 buckets and a spraying machine.
On his initial visit he had donated seeds for a wide variety of vegetables. According to the Minister, the farming tools were acquired through the fund of the President’s Youth Award Scheme,
Sawh acknowledged the assistance of Mr. Odinga Lumumba in the process of obtaining the agricultural implements.
He also announced that he anticipates funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to further assist the group of farmers.
The Minister reminded the farmers that the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC) would be at their service for the purpose of exporting produce, and he urged the farmers to access the resources available at that agency.
At Thursday’s event at the Fort Wellington project, representatives of NARI (National Agricultural Research Institute) supplied farmers with seeds for citrus trees. These seeds were made available at a minimal cost.
The Chronicle learnt that NARI had recently conducted soil tests in the area and that field officers of the Institute had pledged to continue their support to the group.
The Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) has promised to supply a water pump for the project. A delegation from the project is expected to meet soon with Regional officials to iron out minor details of the long term plans for the venture. The land for the project was made available by the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
“You serve as an example to the rest of the country and I pledge to stand steadfast behind you, not only to render assistance, but to celebrate when you are successful and to nudge you on to further successes,” Sawh promised the members of the group.
The farmers are cultivating a wide variety of produce vegetables such as citrus fruits, watermelons, sweet peppers, pumpkins and English tomatoes. (Shirwin Campbell)