– awaits approval of cassava sample
BY UTAMU BELLE
The farmlands of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) may soon be engulfed with cassava production, as
Regional Chairman Renis Morian
the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) continues negotiations with Alesie to have farmers provide the crop to support manufacturing.
Regional Chairman Renis Morian said a second meeting was held with businessman Doerga Persaud of Alesie, Interim-Management Committee (IMC) Chairman Orrin Gordon and Head of the RDC Agriculture Committee Douglas Gittens to discuss the advancement of the venture.
Already, a cassava sample was taken from a farmer in the Region and the Council is awaiting its approval.
“The first meeting was where they showed the interest, the second meeting is where we moved beyond the interest to say ‘look, give us a sample of cassava’. That sample was taken… so now we’re waiting on report to see if the sample has been accepted”, Morian said. Once all goes well it would give rise to massive cassava production by farmers to meet the demands of the company.
The Regional Chairman last Friday met with farmers of Syberian, Old England to sensitise them about the initiative. A number of farmers there have expressed interest and enthusiasm to become involved.
“Once the sample that we sent up has been approved it simply means that we would have to go into a lot of cassava production. We wouldn’t approve it in the office. We would call a meeting with the farmers themselves because we don’t want to sign on to a price that would be bad for the farmer. So we would want the farmers themselves to agree on prices. And we don’t want a price that is fixed for the next five years. We want a price that can be negotiated every year. When the time comes, we would want to bring the investor and sit with the farmers… and get a consensus, and when we get the document we will have farmers sign for farmers, I sign for the RDC and the businessman sign,” Morian told farmers.
The Regional Chairman said the Council, in visiting the community is also taking note of lands available to facilitate similar ventures with the aim of scaling up agriculture in Region 10. He said while pepper has already been cited as a possible future investment, the RDC is presently looking at marketing one product at a time.
“So this is a sensitisation stage to let you know that we are expanding agriculture and you can’t expand agriculture unless you get a market. So before we expand, we have to get a market. We’re trying to do them simultaneously, securing markets and produce, looking at the quality, et cetera.”
Anticipating approval of the cassava sample, Morian said if approval is not given, then another sample may be taken from elsewhere in the Region to ensure farmers make use of the opportunity.
“If that sample is accepted and the cassava in (other parts of) Region 10 don’t measure up to that sample what we would have to do is to quickly spread the sticks around. It’s a Region 10 project all across the barriers so we would want to share the (cassava) sticks”, Morian posited.
Meanwhile, Gittens said the retraction of crude oil in the Region was also discussed. Morian added that while the proposal was made, a plan is yet to be submitted for the setting up of an oil refinery in Linden.