Saturday, April 17, 2010

Amerindian communities likely to get up to $7M extra for development

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo told Toshaos from various sub-districts in the Rupununi that this year each community is likely to receive up to $7 million for development in addition to the annual Presidential Grant.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the president said the sums ranging from $5 million to $7 million will be used to promote food security and profit-making ventures.

He said with funds expected from the implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), he had decided to set aside about US$5M (equivalent to G$1B) in addition for Amerindian communities’ development.

As regard food security, Jagdeo stressed the importance of better drainage and irrigation systems, which he said will boost agriculture productivity and diversify the range of products grown. Guyana is expected to be able to expand access to services and provide new economic opportunities for Amerindian communities within the framework of the LCDS.

“The draft LCDS document states that transforming Guyana’s economy will require among other things, striking a balance between using forest payments to enhance the opportunities for those who live in the forest and recognising the rights of other Guyanese citizens, including the urban poor,” GINA said.

In June 2009 the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs partnered with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to launch the National Secure Livelihood Programme (NSLP) which sought to address the challenges hampering economic development in the Amerindian villages and hinterland communities through the creation of employment opportunities, sustaining food security, income generation, wealth creation, economic diversification and secure livelihoods. Six VSO Specialists were employed to spur economic development in Region One, focusing on agriculture, aquaculture, pest management, food technology, business, development, marketing and finance and organisational development.

According to GINA, the Presidential Grant was established in 2007 with $150M allocated for meeting the social and economic needs of 140 communities. The Grant was also offered in 2008 but last year 20 additional communities became eligible for grants and as a result $160M was allocated.

Source: Stabroek News

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