The picture above shows one of the newly acquired draglines, financed by the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) at work in the village of Ithaca in the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Ithaca is a rural village located at the end of the West Bank of the Berbice River and is bounded by Blairmount settlement to the left in Region 5. According to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture, there are approximately one hundred (100) local farmers with farm sizes of 1 to 7 acres, producing a variety of fruits and vegetables such as: Boulanger, Ochro, Callalloo (poi), Cabbage, Celery, Bora, Pepper, Corn, Pumpkin, Carillie, Rice, Ground provisions (cassava, eddoes, yam etc.). However, many farmers have migrated out of the sector in this and other communities because of the drainage and irrigation challenges, which have led to catastrophic losses in crop cultivation.
In its Second Funding Cycle (2015-20), the CDF through its Country Assistance Programme (CAP) for Guyana is providing ongoing support to the agriculture sector to assist with the clearing and refurbishment of key drainage and irrigation canals in several Communities. During this cycle, CDF provided a concessionary loan of US$10.43 Million which has been allocated to the villages of Ithaca, Presidents College, Buxton, Triumph, and Mocha. The CAP is expected to contribute to Guyana’s high-level objectives of reducing poverty and unemployment and becoming a competitive source of fresh agricultural produce to CARICOM and international markets.
The Ministry of Agriculture has estimated that the programme will positively impact 1200 farmers in areas where there are significant underemployment and poverty, and drainage and irrigation challenges.
During the First Funding Cycle, the CDF provided US$9.72 Million in concessionary loans and grants mainly for farm to market access roads in the areas of Parika, Onverwagt and Laluni. The work in the Second Funding Cycle builds upon this infrastructural base and expands into new communities and projects.
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