FARMERS from the village of Philadelphia, East Bank Essequibo (Essequibo Islands – West Demerara), are calling on the relevant authorities to urgently address the need for an all-weather road in the farming community.
Susan Mohese, a rice farmer from Philadelphia, told this newspaper that following the recent heavy rainfall, she and other farmers from the community have been unable to gain access to their farms to carry out their daily work.
“When the rain fall, when the tide is high and when the koker is not working, the water rides over the dam and when it’s so, we can’t go in the backdam with tractor trailer,” Mohese told the Guyana Chronicle, on Sunday, during a telephone interview.
She added: “If we get one or two all-weather roads it would be easier to bring out paddy, but like how this rain fall two, three days, your paddy cannot go out, no tractor can go in.”
Mohese, in emphasising her plight, explained that, with farmers unable to access their farms to transport paddy and other crops, they suffer losses in the millions of dollars.
The rice farmer said the need for an all-weather road was already brought to the attention of the Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, and while she understands that it will take some time to materialise, the current condition of the access dam in the farming community and the significant losses to farmers, highlight the need for it to be constructed with some amount of urgency.
“The rice industry is an industry that brings billions of dollars to Guyana and what we are saying is that the government can help us do an all-weather road to make the production better.
We have asked them; they said that they have to budget it and we understand but at the moment it is very needed and if we get it next crop it will be very helpful,” Mohese explained.
Another farmer, Mahendra Nandalall, who also spoke with this publication, said that, to date, the dam to access farmlands has been completely shut off and farmers cannot gain access to the backdam to get to tend to their crops.
“We cannot come out on the road…as soon as the rain falls, the head of the road them or the dam is flooded and we have difficulty in getting out our crops from there,” the frustrated man said.
Nandalall added that farmers have also had ‘run ins’ with the police since they are forced to temporarily park their trailers on the road.
“It is very very bad at this moment; rain is falling, farmers are trying to get out their crops and they are being harassed by the police as well. When you see these trailers come out, there is no where we can wash, because there is no all-weather road we can wash or do anything, perishable goods are there,” Nandalall explained.
Additionally, Nandalall stated that the community of Philadelphia is also in need of a second koker and a pump to assist with drainage and irrigation in the area.