On Thursday, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha accepted essential farming equipment from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), all of which is intended to bolster the capacities of small-scale farmers throughout the nation.
The donation was presented by FAO’s Country Representative in Guyana, Dr. Gillian Smith, during a brief ceremony at the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute’s (NAREI) office located in Mon Repos, ECD.
Minister Mustapha acknowledged the ever-increasing budgetary support for the sector but emphasized the continual need for collaborative endeavors with international entities like FAO for comprehensive agricultural advancement. The minister highlighted that the donated equipment would immensely benefit small-scale farmers in their journey towards modernizing their farming techniques.
Drawing attention to post-harvest practices, Minister Mustapha elaborated on the need to move away from traditional methods that could compromise hygiene and the quality of crops. He appreciated FAO’s and the World Food Programme’s persistent partnership in such endeavors, which, albeit seemingly small, have a profound impact on farmers.
Proudly citing a 150% surge in budget allocation for agriculture over the past three years, Minister Mustapha discussed the recent conference involving 242 villages and the government’s concerted efforts to level up the agricultural practices in hinterland communities to parallel those along the coast.
Dr. Gillian Smith of FAO, reflecting on their continued collaboration with Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture, underscored the importance of supporting small farmers, especially amidst fluctuating global food prices and challenges.
The notable contribution comprised 500 plastic crates for post-harvest transport of produce, 300 electric knapsack sprayers, 20 tillers, and essential spare parts. These valuable resources will soon find their way to deserving farmers across Guyana, ushering in a new chapter of agricultural growth.