By Stacy Carmichael
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – Region Six farmers will soon benefit from $300 million in fertiliser support from the government, as efforts continue to cushion the effects of rising cost of living throughout the country. This announcement was made Friday by vice president, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo during a meeting at Number 63 Village.
“We recognise that fertiliser is a big input into agriculture and particularly into the rice industry, and if people have to spend more on fertiliser, it will cut their profit margins. So we wanted to do something to help and that is why we’ve set aside this sum of money,” the vice president said.
A 20-member committee was also formed to determine how the fertiliser would be procured and distributed among the farmers.
The vice president said the establishment of the committee would ensure the equitable distribution of the fertiliser and prevent attempts by persons, who do not qualify for the support, from depriving those in need.
Of the $300 million, some $25 million will go to cash crop farmers for fertiliser.
Vice president Jagdeo said the government has set aside $1 billion in fertiliser support for the country, following consultations with farmers; and explained that even though the PPP/C government removed the 14 percent tax that was placed on fertiliser by the APNU+AFC, the prices continue to climb, due to the rise in oil prices.
“So every time crude oil goes up the price of fertiliser and everything else goes up and oil prices have moved from $28 in 2015 per barrel of crude oil to $120 per barrel. So it’s a steep climb… It’s largely been because of the war in Ukraine,” the vice president explained.
The government has also removed the taxes on gasoline and diesel, from 50 percent to zero, however, he noted that external factors continue to affect prices.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war have affected the global supply chain which has resulted in spikes in commodity prices across the world. The vice president, however, assured that the government will continue to provide the necessary assistance in the agriculture sector to minimise the impact on farmers.