FARMERS residing in West Watooka, Linden are hopeful that some of the main challenges that they face will be alleviated following the donation of a quantity of farming supplies to them by Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, on Wednesday.
Broomes presented to the farmers who are members of the West Watooka Farming Group, several seeds, fertiliser, and farming tools. The minister was also able to solve some of the concerns raised by the farmers on site. The issue of availability of water to the second half of the community, which has about 100 farmers residing along with their families, was paramount. Chairman of the farming group, Arthur Johnson, related that while water is available in the community, the mains stop at the first koker, which is a great distance from where farms and homes are located at the back half of the community. Farmers are forced to fetch water to tend to their crops and for domestic purposes as well.
This has significantly dampened their spirits to farm and has affected the quality and quantity of their produce. West Watooka is known as the farming hub of Linden. The farmers are so desperate for greater access to water that Johnson said that as long as the pipelines are available, they are willing to provide self-help labour to have the soil dug and the pipes laid.
One farmer, Ivan Sancho, related that he has two acres of land in West Watooka which he used to plant cash crops, ground provision and fruits, and because of the water situation, he has to spend about $40,000 monthly for the provision of water to tend to his crops.
Minister Broomes contacted Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Water
Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Van-West Charles, who said that he will have the issue sorted out earliest, so that water can be made available to the farmers. He will contact his Linden officers to look into the issue as early as Friday to see what is needed to have the project executed. Broomes also promised to ensure the matter is dealt with expeditiously.
Residents also raised concerns about the absence of street lights and an Internet hub in the community, which will be of great benefit to the students residing there. At present, through self-help efforts, the residents started the construction of a building, which they said can be used as an Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub. Minister Broomes promised to make representation with Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, to have an ICT hub established in the community, as well as Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira, for the provision of street lights.
Minister Broomes also visited Victory Valley where she took a look at the remains of the community centre that was destroyed by fire last week. She encouraged the residents to think of better things to come that will replace what they have lost. Minister of State Joseph Harmon, on Sunday, also visited the ruins of the centre and committed to have it rebuilt by the government. The residents will submit a plan for a new building next Monday. While all suspicion is pointing towards arson, the residents are awaiting an official report from the Linden Fire Division.