New 6.5km road commissioned in Corentyne to open up virgin farm land

Hundreds of farmers will benefit from a high-quality road as phased works on the farm to market road at Number 58 Village, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) was commissioned.
The 6.5km all-weather road was officially opened on Friday by President Dr Irfaan Ali.
The project has created new land for agricultural cultivation, adding to the already completed Number 52 Village farm to market all-weather road. Combined, the two roads will open up 50,000 acres of prime farmlands, presenting major opportunities for farmers in the region.
According to President Ali, these roads will allow farmers to cut costs in repairing their vehicles and invest more into expanding their cultivation. The Head of State pointed out that in order for agricultural production to increase, infrastructure to support agriculture and food production must be transformed into a more effective transportation and production system.
“Secondly, there must be investment in research and development so that we can have better yields, better crops and better varieties. Thirdly, we must utilise the best possible technology that would deliver to us in a sustainable and resilient way.”
The President added that methods used in agriculture must be resilient so as to militate against the consequences of climate change.
He further noted that the human resource is also critical in ongoing efforts to boost agricultural production.
“Our human resources are not only persons who would graduate from university or a technical institute. Our human resource included the farmers. How are we going to develop a strategy through which we can educate our framers as to the best practices, as to the best options available in increasing production or shifting production into areas sustainable and high yield?”

Novelty road
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill described the road as a novelty road which has engineering technology that was never used in Guyana. He explained that it has three levels of fabric.
“Geo-fabric – woven and unwoven and then geo-cells with eight inches of crusher-run and then the asphaltic concrete,” Edghill explained.
While noting that $1 billion was budgeting in the 2021 National Budget to construct the new road and to upgrade the Number 52 farm to market road to an all-weather road, Minister Edghill pointed out the there is still a further stretch to be made into a road leading to the Canje River. However, two bridges must be constructed first across the Seaforth and the Fowler Canals. All of the components and material for the construction of those bridges are already in place, he noted.
“We were just waiting for this road to be completed so that the machines can now go in for the installation of those bridges.”
The $170 million contract for the two bridges has been awarded.
“Once we are able to get across the Seaforth and the Fowler Canals, monies can be made available for the next phase of this road; which is the intent, to move this road all the way down to the Canje Creek and at a later time, cross the Canje Creek because the intent is to open up new lands for farming, so that some of the younger people would be able to get their own lands to go into agriculture and to develop this area.”
Edghill said the Number 58 new farm-to-market road is a true realisation of a statement he made during the 2022 national budget debate, “you can’t eat roads, but roads make you eat”.
“Because of this road, we will be able to produce more; your investment would become more economically viable…”
Linking to Corentyne coast to the Canje River via farm-to-market roads was initially proposed in a document to the previous Administration by then them Prime Ministerial Regional Rep Gobin Harbhajan but the coalition Government shelved the detailed proposal.
When the People Progressive Party took office, Harbhajan made the proposal available to Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, who took it to Cabinet.
According to Harbhajan, some 50,000 acres of farmland will be opened up beyond the Canje River.
“When I made the proposal, it was not for rice and cattle alone. It was for the benefit of existing farmers and residents. The access road going down to the Canje Creek will not only see rice and cattle, it would see homestead, people doing business, tourism at the Canje Creek. The Government will get value for money,” he told this publication. (G4)