The Ministry of Agriculture's Agricultural Support Services Programme (ASSP) continues to undertake critical works and provide services to support farmers' activities to take advantage of the numerous opportunities within the non-traditional agriculture sector.
The ASSP is financed from an Inter-American Development Bank loan, which was signed on September 24, 2004. This Loan was subject to partial cancellation due to the IDB's debt relief initiative in 2007. As such, the Loan was restructured.
The GOG contribution has been provided in kind, that is, in the execution of the earthworks in approved areas. As such the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority has completed at least 60% of these earthworks, thereby facilitating the commencement of the rehabilitation of control structures and access roads.
The objective of the ASSP is to raise rural incomes on the coastal plain of Guyana through increasing efficiency of agricultural production. Specifically the ASSP aims to rehabilitate D&I structures, organise farmers to operate and maintain these rehabilitated structures, and support rice research and agriculture diversification.
Such works consist of the rehabilitation of scores of control structures and access roads within the project areas of Vergenoegen/Bonasika and Den Amstel/Fellowship on the West Coast of Demerara. Some of the work has already been completed.
Components of the ASSP include:
• Rehabilitation of control structures, access roads and pump stations in Regions 3, 4 and 6.
• D&I Institutional Development WUA Support
• Farmers' training and extension
• National Drainage and Irrigation Authority strengthening
• Rice seed development
• Design and construction of rice seed facility
• Rice research support
• Agriculture diversification
• Improving NGMC's capacity to deliver services and
• Enhancing the knowledge of stakeholders on good agricultural practices.
Meanwhile, despite many challenges the Ministry of Agriculture remains optimistic about the expanding agriculture sector as Guyana maintains its food secure status and continues to export food to the Caribbean and other countries.