Agri. Ministry and Corbin clash over ‘Grow More Food’ campaign
The Ministry of Agriculture and Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin have once again clashed on issues of agricultural development in the country, this time being at war over the ‘Grow More Food’ campaign.
Corbin on Friday last said that it is ‘hypocritical’ for the Minister of Agriculture to boast of the Government’s ‘Grow More Food’ campaign, expending large amounts of taxpayers money on propaganda and the building of billboards all over Guyana, while neglecting the fundamentals to make such a campaign successful.
In a response to Corbin’s accusations, the Ministry of Agriculture said that Corbin sought to discredit the campaign, which has been a huge success.
Addressing the food campaign, the Ministry in a statement said that the promotion was launched in Charity with the Pomeroon area being one of the first beneficiaries of seeds, chemicals, planting material and other support.
Due to the campaign, the statement noted, Guyana has been able to sustain its food secure status.
At present, there is an increase of fresh fruit and vegetable and even processed agricultural produce exports, a significant amount which comes directly from the Pomeroon.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, more markets have been captured and existing markets expanded as a result of the campaign.
Increased food production as a result of the campaign, the statement added, played a major role in stabilising food prices on the local markets, which saw a spike during the height of the world food crisis.
On Friday also, Corbin lashed out at Robert Persaud for not fulfilling the many promises he had made to residents of Charity and Pomeroon.
Corbin told the media that he visited the area last weekend and heard the many complaints of promises not being materialised.
However, in response to Corbin, the Minister said that the majority of drainage works committed were fulfilled.
The two swing fog machines that were promised were already handed over to farmers of the Upper and Lower Pomeroon as requested, with accompanying training for its operation.
In highlighting the promises that have been materialised, the Ministry also pointed to the fact that a pontoon and two excavators were provided to carry out drainage and irrigation works following representation made by farmers.
Training of farmers as extension agents and for agro-processing purposes was also conducted.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, it has received information that a number of farmers have expressed their disgust of the false report and claims by the Leader of the Opposition and the Ministry suggested that for the sake of his credibility Corbin should seek clarity and information before making public statements.
Corbin had stated at a press conference that the neglect of agricultural development in the Pomeroon is evident with frequent floods and continuous losses by dedicated farmers.
According to Corbin, promises to provide relief, such as financial assistance, improving the drainage infrastructure and dredging the mouth of the Pomeroon River, have failed to fully materialise.
During a press conference hosted at Congress Place, Sophia, the Opposition Leader said that even in the few instances where some assistance was offered, there is clear evidence of discrimination in the manner in which the assistance was provided.
The assistance, he claimed, was only provided to areas where the administration’s supporters live.