FARMERS in Guyana are praising the Rural Agricultural Infrastructure Development (RAID) project as an initiative which has helped to re-position them for greater benefits from the agricultural sector.
The project, launched in 2016 and supported by a G$318M loan from the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF), focuses primarily on infrastructural development for farmlands.
The four-year project has been implemented in Mon Repos, Buxton, Ithaca and other areas.
During an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Mon Repos farmer for over 20 years, Latchman Khemra, highlighted the many ways in which the RAID initiative has assisted him.
“We [are] getting a lot of help. They give us a lot of plants, get the drains clean, clear down the lands…I thank very much to them for helping us [sic],” he said.
Khemraj encouraged other farmers to seize the opportunities offered to improve themselves and the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, single parent and commercial farmer Michella Benjamin shared her appreciation for the programme.
“[There are] a lot of benefits for me because I’m a single parent. I have been able to save a lot of money…the government did so much for me and all I have to do is the planting,” Benjamin said, as she encouraged other farmers to get on board.
Ithaca farmer, Adrian Caesar listed machinery as some of the numerous benefits of RAID.
He said: “It’s wonderful because if you’ve got to dig the drain – [it’s] manual labour, [and] it’s going to be hard, and the tractor, hymac and the bulldozer, they have done well man; I appreciate what they have done so we can go ahead with the farming and be successful.”
Another farmer from Ithaca, Frank Anthony, with 15 years’ experience said that land-clearing, tilling, drainage and irrigation are all benefits he reaped from the RAID programme. “I see the programme as beneficial to Ithaca people,” Anthony said.
Meanwhile, Extension Officer for Buxton Farmlands, Hamani Tinnie, said the RAID programme was beneficial.
“We did the primary drains, which would be these big canals, clearing of land as well, and we did some ploughing and chipping of land…basic land preparation, so the farmers could get an easier time handling,” he said.
Tinnie explained that access to the farms has increased vastly through RAID; other benefits include improved drainage and planting materials.