–due to faulty sluice, excessive rainfall
EXCESSIVE rainfall and a faulty sluice have left farmers of Sarah Village, Wakenaam, in a quandary, as more than 100 acres of rice land have been affected by flooding in the area.
Rice farmers related to the Guyana Chronicle that their lands have been inundated for over two weeks now, and, despite several reports to the Wakenaam Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) at Sans Souci, nothing has been done.
One rice farmer, who preferred to remain unnamed, said that this issue is not new, as it has been a regular occurrence which is yet to be addressed tangibly.
“The last crop, our rice lands in the Sarah area were flooded cause a board in the Koker came out… this year is the same thing… this need to stop; there need to be a permanent solution or at least constant monitoring,” the rice farmer said.
Given the prevailing situation, rice farmers are turning their attention to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), as a last resort to ensure that all drainage and irrigation structures on the island are monitored properly before the commencement of harvesting.
“We cannot afford for these structures to break during the crop, because when the crop floods it means that we are heading for losses” the farmer related.
In speaking about his personal assessment of the damages caused by flooding, the farmer said over 15 acres of his rice lands are inundated. He said that such will always be the case unless the sluice is repaired in a timely manner, especially since his lands are close to the mechanical water regulator.
When contacted, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture said that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NDIA was informed of the issue and efforts are being made to remedy the situation.
Rice farmers at Wakenaam are currently offered $3,500 for a bag of “Grade A” paddy. They are utilising the ferry to transport their harvest to millers in other parts of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
The Minister of Agriculture had announced, recently, that farmers on the island will see a reduced cost for ferry services. This was made possible by the ministry after a concession was granted to millers and farmers who transport paddy using the ferry service.