600 farmers receive fertilizer vouchers in Essequibo
As part of a $400M Government Assistance Programme, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) on Wednesday began the distribution of fertilizer vouchers in Region Two, with 600 farmers being the recipients.
The fertilizer assistance project – carried out by the GRDB in collaboration with the Rice Producers Association (RPA) – is being conducted at a cost of $208M and is aimed at alleviating the suffering of farmers in that region.
The vouchers are valued at $2,200 to a maximum of 30 acres and can be exchanged for fertilizers at companies identified by the RPA.
The GRDB said the process is being hindered by inaccurate information supplied to extension officers by the farmers. It added that it is time-consuming since the information has to undergo a verification process, which is done in the fields.
The second phase of the programme is the construction of the drying floors, which will commence as soon as ownership of the land earmarked for this purpose is regularised. This could start as early as January 2010.
Minister Persaud had specified that $208M would be spent on the provision of fertilizers, with each farmer who cultivates 30 or more acres of land, receiving 30 bags at half price, and paying only $2,200.
A further sum of $180M will be spent on building 12 drying facilities along the coast in Regions 2,3,4,5 and 6. This will allow farmers to store paddy for more than 72 hours before processing, reducing the possibility of premature spoilage.
With the new facilities, 6000-7000 bags of rice should be produced daily. The remainder will be spent on assessing the progress of the programme.
There is also an Inter-American Development Bank programme, which will afford $20B, over a six-year period, to fund construction projects with specific emphasis on drainage and irrigation facilities.