$125M worth of machinery commissioned to enhance D&I
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Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha

IN an effort to maximise its performance and increase the country’s drainage and irrigation capacity, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA, on Wednesday, commissioned seven excavators.
These excavators which were supplied by Farm Supplies Limited at a total cost of $125,300,000 will add to the NDIA’s current fleet that is currently spread out across the country.
While offering remarks at the commissioning, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, said that the recently acquired pieces of machinery will be used to complement NDIA’s efforts to boost the country’s drainage and irrigation system.
“Today, 95 per cent of the drainage responsibility in the country rests on the shoulders of the NDIA and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Region Four RDC Chairman, Daniel Seeram

These pieces of machinery will add to the fleet that we already have, complementing NDIA’s efforts to boost the country’s drainage and irrigation system. We recently witnessed, and, in some areas, we are still witnessing, unprecedented levels of rainfall. During this time, our capabilities were put to the test. I can safely say, given the amount of rainfall that fell over the last two months, the NDIA should be complimented for executing its duties around the country,” Minister Mustapha said.
The seven excavators that were commissioned will be used for the excavation and desilting of primary channels and to clean secondary drains within residential areas.

Six of the machines that were commissioned

Minister Mustapha also highlighted the role of the Hope Canal in evading severe flooding in Region Four and some parts of Region Five.
“I also want to highlight the importance of the Hope Canal. I can remember vividly when that canal was built there were many naysayers who openly condemned and criticised the project, calling it a waste of taxpayers’ money. Well, today we’ve lived to see the importance of the Hope Canal. The PPP/C Government has always been a government with a vision, making preparations for the future by learning from the past.

With that being said, our technical officers are going to be conducting studies to determine vulnerable areas across the country that need those types of investment and we will make those investments so that we can mitigate flooding in our country,” Minister Mustapha said. Chairman of the NDIA Board of Directors, Lionel Wordsworth, said that the NDIA will be upgrading and expanding the country’s drainage and irrigation infrastructure to improve the NDIA’s responsiveness to instances of flooding. He also stressed that the machines that were commissioned went through the necessary procurement processes.

VITAL FOR DELIVERY
“There is a huge programme that will be undertaken within the NDIA and the Ministry, whereby a lot of infrastructure will have to be upgraded or expanded to respond to effects that we would’ve experienced as a result of the flooding. Investments like these will provide us with the necessary tools so that we can deliver on these planned programmes. The equipment we’ve acquired forms part of our 2021 programme and I’m happy to say that it went through the procedure as prescribed by the laws of Guyana and the National Procurement Process,” Wordsworth said.

Chairman of the Demerara-Mahaica Regional Democratic Council, Daniel Seeram ,while offering remarks said the NDIA should be complimented for its works in Region Four as that region was the least affected during the recent flooding. He also said that stakeholders should be consulted to ensure informed decisions are made moving forward.
“I know at this point in time we had a wake-up call at the level of the board from the minister in terms of what transpired across the regions. I am thankful that the Demerara-Mahaica region was one of the least-affected regions. However, many of the farming areas in the backlands were under water. The drainage and irrigation industry requires constant monitoring.

All stakeholders must be consulted in order for policymakers to make informed decisions and plan for the way forward. The acquisition of these pieces of machinery is timely and I look forward to them being equitably distributed across the country,” Seeram said.
General-Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj, said the government has made a step in the right direction with the acquisition of the pieces of equipment.

“Because we are below sea level, drainage is even more critical. It is of critical importance that we are, as a country, in a position to address high-intensity rainfall over a short period of time. I think this move by the government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Agriculture, to acquire equipment that can enhance our drainage and irrigation services, is a step in the right direction. It is also fulfilling one of the promises of the government,” Seeraj said.
This year, the NDIA was allocated $12 billion as part of the government’s 2021 fiscal package. (DPI)

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