Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha recently engaged Berbice rice and cattle farmers and proposed a number of measures to deflate decades of tensions brewed between the two groups.
Conflicts between rice and cattle farmers have long existed across Guyana, but tensions heightened within the Berbice region recently.
Among issues raised during an engagement with the respective farmers were claims of malicious destruction of crops, property and livestock on both sides.
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha promised to heighten police monitoring, as well as assemble representatives to more quickly and efficiently address these claims as they arise.
“We’ll have representatives from the cattle farmers and rice farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture will also have representatives as rangers to patrol the areas so that we will not have these kind of accusations where they are saying that people are collecting these animals from the streets and from the dams and take it to the pound.”
The Minister plans to address the issue of livestock slaughter during the course of this week.
“Based on the pound issue, I asked the Attorney General, because we know for a fact that the NDC, they have some pounds here in this community, but we don’t know if these pounds are gazetted or legal. I’ve asked the attorney general to give me a legal opinion of what I should do. In the coming week, he’ll give me some advice on those issues.”
Minister Mustapha will also be constructing a new fence from Number 66 village to Number 74 to separate the farmers. He also encouraged cattle farmers to monitor their animals so they do not destroy crops.
He will also be looking at ways to zone farmers.