–major upgrades to ‘agri’ infrastructure in the pipeline
RESIDENTS of Naamryck, a community in the Parika Backdam area of Region Three, will soon benefit from a number of infrastructure upgrades, including the construction of a $47 million landing facility.
This is according to Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar.
The ministers were at the time meeting with farmers and residents in the area after requests were made for them to visit the community and listen to some of the issues residents are facing.
During the meeting, farmers appealed to the ministers to assist them with having the C-line drain cleared, and upgrades to be done on the road in the area. One farmer told the ministers that there was an urgent need for the drain to be cleared.
“The trench block up right now in the C-line; when they weed the trench it’s only four feet in width clean, so the water cannot recede properly. We need the trench to clean urgently,” the farmer lamented.
Minister Mustapha, while responding to the issues that were raised, told farmers that the government has been working to ensure it fulfills every promise it made to citizens during the election period. He also told them that a machine will be sent to execute works on the drains in the area.
“We are working aggressively to achieve all of the promises made in our Manifesto; you can see that progress has been made. So, today, I want to make a commitment: The drain that you want cleaned; we’ll do it,” Minister Mustapha said.
“A machine will be sent in two days to start those works, and within a week or two, those works should be completed. The ministry has been maintaining the dams; we have a dam maintenance programme that was put in place since we took office. Other large projects; we’ll have to put them in our 2022 budget,” he added.
As it relates to the government’s ongoing flood-relief distribution exercise, Minister Mustapha told farmers that Region Three will soon benefit from the grant.
NOW MAPPING UP
“We’ve already started in some regions. Those regions that we’ve started in, we are now mapping up. This weekend we hope to complete Regions Six and Five. Region Ten is complete, and on the coast of Region Two. When we are finished there, the ministry will commence that exercise in this region. The names have already been captured,” Minister Mustapha said.
Minister Mustapha also told farmers that officers from the various agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture will be coming to distribute seeds, and assist with training in the proper use of chemicals management.
He advised farmers to use the required protective gear when handling chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides.
While responding to questions about promised road works in the area, Minister Indar told residents that a contract was awarded, and works are scheduled to commence soon.
He also told residents that funds will be made available in the 2022 budget for other works that were requested.
The minister also informed residents that a contract was signed for the construction of a landing facility, and that works on that facility are scheduled to commence within the coming days.
“In the 2022 budget, there will be sums put aside to deal with this road. It might not be the entire two miles but some amount of work will be done on the road. I want to tell you, before I came here today, a contract was signed by our ministry to do the landing facility that the President had promised you.
“That has been awarded for $47 million and those works should commence within a week. Also, farmers who have lands in the areas from Naamless to Bendorf, another contract was awarded for works on that road too,” Minister Indar said.
Minister Indar further outlined the process of getting funds for capital projects after residents enquired about the time taken to commence the works.
“The process for getting funds for capital projects takes a little while. I know when you ask for big projects you would want to see instant gratification.
“If we don’t follow the necessary procedures there will be all sorts of accusations. There are laws that we have to follow especially when spending money on these large capital projects,” Minister Indar said.
He added: “[It would become] a perennial problem if we fix it, it will become a problem again if farmers continue to use certain machinery on the road. We have to make sure when we put something in, we care it.”
Residents also requested more police presence in the area, citing the increase in crime, especially over the weekends.
They also disclosed that establishments that sell alcohol are not adhering to the guidelines set by the National COVID-19 Taskforce as it relates to the national curfew. The ministers committed to raising the issues with the Minister of Home Affairs. (Ministry of Agriculture)