The Ministry of Agriculture has lashed out against Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, stating that his claims of neglect and non-fulfillment of commitments to residents in the Pomeroon are ‘baseless’ and seem to be another attempt to distract from his party’s internal leadership upheavals.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Ministry claimed that in spite of accusations by Corbin, many promises by Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud, have materialised.
The statement noted that the Pomeroon is a focal point for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Region Two Administration.
On Friday, Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, at a press conference said that the neglect of agricultural development in the Pomeroon is evident with frequent floods and continuous losses by dedicated farmers as they are yet to bare the fruits of promises by the Agriculture Ministry.
He noted that this neglect is more focused on Lower Pomeroon, in communities such as Aberdeen and Hackney.
According to Corbin, promises to provide relief, such as financial assistance, improving the drainage infrastructure and dredging the mouth of the Pomeroon River, have failed to fully materialise.
Yesterday, the Ministry stated that a number of developmental agricultural activities have been taking place in communities in Pomeroon.
With respect to the Leader of the Opposition’s claims of neglect made in relation to drainage and irrigation, the Ministry of Agriculture stated that its National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has been making necessary interventions such as deployment of two excavators valued at $60M along with a $14M pontoon for mobility in Pomeroon to build embankment and empolder farmlands.
Reactivation of an old drainage structure at Cozier at a cost of $28M, construction of a $36M drainage sluice at Charity and re-commissioning of the $409.5M Dawa new pump station are among the works done in the Pomeroon, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
According to the Ministry, in 2006, some $60M drainage and irrigation works were carried out by NDIA in the Pomeroon with the understanding that farmers in the Pomeroon will aid in the upkeep and maintenance of these works.
Work is in progress in the Pomeroon with the Hackney and Aberdeen Canals forming part of the works programme, the Ministry’s statement pointed out.
NDIA, the Ministry said, is also contemplating the dredging of the mouth of the Pomeroon River.
At present, the Ministry is considering the use of mining dredges to carry out this operation which is in its testing phase.
The Opposition Leader had also questioned assistance for farmers in the Pomeroon citing discrimination.
But according to the Ministry of Agriculture, there is a system for the provision of assistance that entails the verification and legitimisation of farmers’ claims, not only by Ministry officials, but the farmers themselves, who play a leading role in determining the validity of each other’s losses.
The new Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) has also been acting as facilitator in finding markets for farmers, the statement said, pointing out that the Ministry routinely provides a wide range of assistance to affected farmers including agriculture outputs (seeds, fertilisers, chemicals) and technical assistance.
A US$6M Rural Enterprise and Development Project (READ), which will benefit approximately 28,000 people in rural farming communities, has a component, a Rural Enterprise Grant, which will aid in the development of production and marketing systems in Region Two, including Pomeroon.
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