Essequibo farmers enjoy $121M drainage facility
On another visit to the Essequibo Coast, Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud, commissioned a $121M double-door sluice, at Golden Fleece, Essequibo. The recent construction was undertaken jointly by both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Region Two Administration.
Addressing the gathering at the commissioning on Thursday, last, Persaud noted that the sluice which has a total gate width of 7.32m [24 feet], aims at providing drainage for 7,000 acres of farmland in the Golden Fleece and Cullen area.
Persaud said that within recent years, the Agriculture Ministry has collaborated and worked with various donor agencies to build and maintain drainage and irrigation structures countrywide to ensure that rice farmers benefit from the drainage and irrigation network.
“We at the government level, through the Ministry, will continue to invest in developing the sector, so that the farmers can be competitive…”
Persaud added that Guyana is aiming to export 360,000 tones of rice next year.
Commenting directly on the new structure, Persaud called on the beneficiaries of the project to make an effort and give of their best, while ensuring that all drainage and irrigation outlets on the Coast remain free from blockage.
Additionally, Persaud warned that those who fail to execute their required duties such as opening kokers at specific times, behaviour will not tolerated.
“The system has to work and people in charge must ensure that this happens,” he said.
He also called on the stakeholders who were also present at the commissioning to be agents of change and to report all incidents of negligence to the appropriate authorities.
“We need persons that are committed; farmers must not suffer losses because of the negligence of a sluice operator.”
National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) head, Lionel Wordsworth, said that the double-door sluice is one of two other sluices.
Roopan Ramotar Investment INC constructed the $121M double –door sluice.
And at Somerset and Berks that same day, Minister of Water and Housing, Irfaan Ali, commissioned a $55M water conservation well.
In his address, the minister said that it was another commitment by the government.
The well, which is intended to serve residents of communities between Somerset and Berks and Charity, is one of several, he said.
Ali also urged residents to be committed to paying their water rates, which will lend also to maintaining the system.
“If you conserve on water, then you will save more and pay less.”