January 31, 2023

INFO 10

THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE

Ituni farmers seeking Gov’t support to commence hemp cultivation

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while handing over agricultural inputs to farmers from Ituni

Farmers from Ituni, Region 10 are interested in becoming large scale cultivators of hemp, an industry they deem to be profitable. This interest was relayed to Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha during a visit to the community on Wednesday. The farmers are also seeking assistance with agricultural land leases to become large-scale producers. Many in the community are already involved in large-scale production of fruits and vegetables. While they are willing to join the efforts to move Region 10 to a sustainable region, accessing farmlands remain a hindrance.

Minister Mustapha committed to assisting the farmers to ramp up production more so that the region cannot remain dependable on the bauxite industry that has significantly scaled down.

“We’ve seen what happened to the economy in these parts when the bauxite industry closed. This is why we have to develop the agriculture sector. Although we are now an oil and gas producer, we have to continue to develop the sector. We have to use the earnings from the oil and gas sector to develop the productive sectors like the agriculture sector,” he noted.

Relative to the cultivation of hemp, the minister related that the process to develop the regulatory body to guide the industry has commenced.

“We recently passed legislation to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Guyana. The legislation stipulates that a regulatory body has to be in place and we’ve commenced the process of having that body developed. Two regions were identified for the initial cultivation of hemp; Regions Six and Ten. So, when the regulatory body is in place you will be able to apply for licenses to cultivate industrial hemp. I want to assure you that small-holding farmers will benefit. This project will target farmers who have small acreages, maybe one or two acres,” he explained.

Minister Mustapha told farmers that although the Ministry of Agriculture is not responsible for issuing farmlands, the ministry often engages the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission on issues relating to leases for farming. “We’ll speak with officials from the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission to set up a meeting soon in Ituni. Our officers will also come back with that team to have meetings so that all the farmers who applied for lands to do agriculture can receive those leases as soon as possible,” the minister said.

Minister Mustapha, while encouraging persons to develop farmers’ groups, committed to assisting the Ituni Superfem Women’s Group with Black Giant chicks as they look to develop the poultry sector in the village.  He also committed to supplying several bongo pumps and Acoushi ant bait to assist farmers who are constantly affected by the pests.  Officers from the ministry are expected to return to the village soon to deliver on commitments made by the minister in the coming weeks.