Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Monday reported that approximately $2 billion in flood relief cash grants have been doled out thus far to affected Guyanese across Regions Five, Six, and Ten to aid recovery from the devastating May/ June rains.
The distribution, however, has not been without challenges as there have been many reports of persons inflating the damage they suffered from the floods. Now, to ensure complete transparency, the Agriculture Ministry is working to establish an official register to ensure complete transparency.
“Generally, we do not have an established register, and we have no have to create a register because you might have people that left out and then you have people who are making false claims so those are all of the things we are dealing with,” Minister Mustapha told the Guyana News Agency on Monday.
He added, “Some report that persons do not deserve to receive the flood relief but when we ask for the details, they do not have any evidence to submit those details so we are working very, very strictly to ensure that we follow the guidelines as much as possible to do the verification.”
The ministry has extension officers from the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) conducting verification of the claims being put forward by the residents.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha hands over a cheque to a farmers at the distribution of flood relief grants at the Woodley Park Primary School, Region Five
And, with more claims coming in daily, the Agriculture Ministry has established a hotline from 8am to 6pm starting Tuesday. Persons can make contact with the Ministry’s Head Office on 223-7291 to lodge any complaints or queries they have regarding the cash grant distribution.
As per President Irfaan Ali’s July announcement, the cash grant covers various categories including homestead farmers, those with kitchen gardens, and households who had neither farms nor kitchen gardens.
Homestead farmers would receive $100,000 while those with kitchen gardens would receive $50,000 each. Other households, who had neither farms nor kitchen gardens, will receive $50,000.
As it relates to the rice industry, it was explained that for rice that was ready for harvest and was lost in the flood, farmers will receive $80,000 per acre; for rice sowed and lost in the autumn crop, those farmers are set to receive $65,000 per acre and those farmers who prepared their lands but were unable to plant will receive $45,000 per acre.
In addition to this support, 60,000 bags of seed paddy will be made available to the farmers.
The more than 2,000 poultry farmers who suffered losses will receive more than $600 million in relief assistance. The assistance will fall under four categories: farmers, and small, medium, and large-scale poultry farmers.