Corentyne cattle owners concerned over pastures being offered to investors

first_imgCattle owners on the Corentyne, in Berbice, have raised concerns over efforts by persons, who are reportedly closely connected with the current Government to give out sections of a communal cattle pasture.The 52/66 Cattle Pasture, which consists of 17,000 acres was leased to a co-op in 1997 for the purpose of cattle rearing and targeted the small cattle farmers, is now being offered to investors.Guyana Times understands that applicants are being told that they can have a portion of the pasture for $800,000 and that the Lands and Surveys Department isA section of the 52/66 Cattle Pasturecurrently entertaining applications for leases of portions of the 52/66 cattle Pasture.Recently the issue was discussed at the regional level.The Prime Minister’s Regional Representative, Gobin Harbhajan, explained that rice farmers are taking up the cattle pastures, hence there is less space for the animals to graze.Harbhajan also confirmed that persons have been applying for portions of the 52/66 Communal Cattle pasture and on those applications sent to the Commissioner, the applicant has indicated that they have no intention of rearing cattle.“If we allow that to happen then the poor cattle farmers with four or five heads of cows will not be able to have their cows there because people will fence that area.”Harbhajan said already some persons have fenced sections of the pasture. In addition, others have dug canals marking off their claim. He said also being affected are those who fish in the swamps which exist in the pasture. Many of those fisherfolk are confronted with ‘Do Not Trespass’ signs thus they cannot fish.Meanwhile, Regional Chairman David Armogan says he had high-level discussions on the issue and is assuring that cattle farmers need not worry. According to Armogan, the Lands Commission has not made a decision on the issue as yet and will not be doing so until the completion of a land use policy.“He (Lands and Survey Commissioner) told me that all of the land use policy has to be revisited. We have to know where cattle should be, we have to know where rice should be, we have to know where dairy should be; you have to know where you should plant plantain and cassava; that is a part of the land use policy and that has to be put in place,” the Regional chairman said.The Chairman added that senior officials from the Lands and Survey Department acknowledged that they have been entertaining applications for leases but until the land use policy comes into place, the 52/66 Cattle Pasture will remain as it is and available to cattle farmers. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img

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