GOVERNMENT has undertaken to assist farmers who have suffered significant losses during the unusual heavy rainfall earlier this month, Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has assured. “While we cannot fully compensate the farmers for all their losses, we can help them provide some relief,” he told the Guyana Chronicle yesterday.
He said the Agriculture Ministry will be providing some funds and chemicals to treat the soil, seeds and seedlings, specifically to the cash crop farmers.
According to him, an assessment has already being done in Canals Polder 1 and 2, West Bank Demerara, while another one is being conducted in Black Bush Polder, Corentyne, Berbice, in order to distribute recovery supplies.
Distribution is expected to commence this week in Canal Polder 2 and Black Bush Polder and other areas will receive theirs within days after the first distribution phase.
Livestock and veterinary supplies have already being disbursed in the Black Bush Polder area, the minister said, adding: “We will be visiting every farm to ensure that no one is left out.”
He said steps will be taken to ensure that the Government efforts are not criticized, despite its sincere intention, as has occurred in the past.
With regards to the pace at which the water is receding in the areas that are still affected, Ramsammy expressed satisfaction.
However, he said that he is still worried about some places, such as Johanna in Black Bush Polder, which is still waterlogged. There was continuous rainfall there and water seems to be getting into the area through some other source.
Works are being executed to find out the contributing factor to the slow pace at which the water is moving.
“It can’t any longer be the outfall because we have cleared the outfall”, the minister said.
He said vegetation has been cleared from the Johanna canal and, in the meantime, the technical personnel are undertaking studies to come up with the cause and find a solution to the problem.
Ramsammy said he paid a visit to Canal Polder last Saturday and is satisfied with the measures put in place to relieve farmers there. One of the major issues that were affecting the area is the presence of moss in the water.
He announced that a monthly maintenance of the canal has been introduced since the periodic cleaning was contributing to the flooding.
Meanwhile, in Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary, more public works have to be completed, improving the MMA dams, cleaning the canals and dredging the Abary River, all at a significant cost.
In addition, rice farmers are going to be assisted with fertilisers, as their losses were not as severe as cash crop planters and livestock rearers. “Rice farmers were able to minimise their losses since they did a lot of pumping at their own expense,” Ramsammy observed.