Several farmers who would have received National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) lands from the former WALES estate have said that they are seeing the benefits of being issued the land last year.
This was the disclosure of some of the farmers who are into cash and cattle farming. They stated that while some of them are former employees of the defunct Wales Estate, they can survive what they have all concluded will be a major economic set back with regards to COVID 19.
However, they said that with the distribution of lands to several former workers, it was a particularly good move that was made by the government and as such, they are confident that several families and communities will benefit significantly.
Dhanpaul Samaroo who had worked with the sugar estate for several years confessed that he was disappointed when he lost his job but upon reflection, he is better off than he was when the estate was functioning. “The great thing is that I got into farming and maximized the opportunity that was presented to us.
When the president said that land was being offered, I decided that with my love for aquiculture and the fact that I have a family to take care of, I was going to apply for some of the lands. Today, while many persons have lost their jobs and are much more uncertain as to what will happen, I am benefiting in a major way from this very land as I am feeding my family and accurately my community,” Samaroo said.
The former employee said that while there are evident challenges with the current COVID 19 disease,he is seeking to adjust to it. He, however noted that farming and more so agriculture is the only avenue that will help Guyana to get out of the current economic bind. “The challenges and difficulties will be significant as we are beginning to see it but what we know is that agriculture is the best way to go,” Samaroo reiterated.
Another farmer Mahadeo Deokarran who has been mobilizing villagers and others to aggressively pursue agriculture for several years, confessed that he has been seeking to access the lands since 2012.
He said that back then, the challenges were severe, but the farmers persevered and continued farming despite encountering several difficulties. He said that while he does not consider himself a politician owing to his strong Christian views and beliefs, he is satisfied that the Government acted when they did to offer the land to farmers. This, he stressed is an indication that they were timely in their distribution. The land was distributed at the right time, as today, many persons are able to feed not only themselves and families but for communities and others because food is available in abundance,” he said.
Deokarran noted that such initiatives will assist greatly in advancing and promoting food security. He stressed that he hopes many will capitalize on the opportunities that are available through agriculture.
He declared that there is definite progress being made in strengthening food security, adding that while several sectors will take much longer than others to get back rolling, food production and its benefits will continue to be emphasized in many ways.
Deokarran declared that with the current COVID 19 pandemic ruining a number of Caribbean countries’ revenues, Guyana can take pride that its opportunities are numerous and should be exploited for revenue generation. “There are evident challenges but with the increased number of persons that are getting into agricultural activities, our food security in my mind remains steadfast and solid. NICIL played a pivotal role when it sought to utilize some of the former sugar lands for agricultural purposes, and for that, myself and other farmers are thankful,” he said.