–to help mitigate adverse effects of recent floods
FOLLOWING several meetings with farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture has commenced a number of works to address the issues that were raised with them in Regions Two, Three and Six.
Subject Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, in a virtual update on Monday evening, said that the works currently being done in those regions are follow-ups to issues that were raised by farmers and residents in a few farming communities. According to the Minister, he and a team paid a visit to Windsor Forest, in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), as well as several other communities along the Pomeroon River, and in the Corentyne region.
“In all these areas,” Minister Mustapha said, “we have been getting almost all the same issue; drainage and irrigation. However, in the Pomeroon, farmers and residents were flooded out for a number of weeks; as a result of that, their crops and livestock were destroyed.”
In order to address the foregoing issues, the minister disclosed, a team comprising members of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), and the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has completed damage assessments, and is currently in the process of transporting and distributing agro-chemicals, planting materials, ducklings and other ruminants to those farmers who were affected by floods during the rainy season.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, through NAREI and the GLDA,” he said, “is making arrangements to transport these chemicals and planting materials to the Pomeroon. Also, the GLDA has already delivered, in the Charity area, ducklings and other small ruminants, and we are trying to assist these farmers to help them get back on their feet.”
Minister Mustapha also noted that there are several engineers with excavators and pontoons in the Pomeroon area, working around-the-clock to clear a number of blocked drains and canals there.
Similar drainage and irrigation works, he said, are ongoing in Windsor Forest to clear a number of canals, drains and dams there so that farmers can have better access to water for their crops, as well as a clear passage for their farm-to-market roads. “In Windsor Forest, as I am speaking, I know for a fact that machines are working there, and the dams will be prepared in time for the farmers to bring out their produce,” the minister said. He also disclosed that he is currently in the process of conducting an assessment to address the recent hike in prices for vegetables on the local market. “I am a bit concerned with the high increase in price for vegetables in the market; we will have to see how we can address that issue, because many consumers have been claiming that they have to pay double the price, or triple the price, for vegetables in the market,” Minister Mustapha said.
He feels that the price hike could have been caused by the recent floods in many farming communities. “Because I know for a fact that many farmers were flooded out,” he said, adding: “But also from the ministry’s perspective, we have been giving this kind of relief, and we have been sending machines to clear clogged canals and drains.”