NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE – The Region Six Administration is expending some $5.8 million on the preparation of the access dams to rice fields to ease the burden faced by farmers.
Chairman Zulfikar Mustapha indicated that some 26 of these dams in the Number Fifty-two/Seventy-four Villages are now being rehabilitated so that farmers can transport their paddy to mills with ease. The project began two weeks ago and is expected to be completed by the end of this week.
During the past few months the dams became inaccessible as a result of inclement weather. Irresponsible use by farmers in some areas also added to the situation as well. The members of the Number Fifty-two/Seventy-four Water Users’ and the Rice Producers’ Associations are overlooking the project.
He is appealing to farmers to take care of the thoroughfares and not use heavily laden vehicles during the wet season. During that period only small amounts of produce should be transported.
He said in some locations farmers use boats to move their produce from the field to the public road and this is more costly and use up man-hours. He said farmers in Region Six should show more appreciation for the fact that transportation does not involve waterways.
In the Drainage and Irrigation Budget for 2010, no provision was made for the rehabilitation of these access dams hence funds had to be sourced from other programmes. He said work on the said dams is done for each rice crop but yet still farmers continue to destroy them without consideration.
The dams were in the worst condition for this rice crop than any other period during the past five years. This however did not affect the beginning of the harvesting of paddy which is now in progress.
Last Thursday, the Regional Chairman met with officials of the Rice Producers Association and field officers. Dialogue was held on ways to educate farmers about the need to preserve all facilities since they are the ones who would suffer the most.
Meanwhile, farmers in the four schemes comprising Black Bush Polder are to derive benefits from a $5 million project.
This is funded by the Water Users’ Association and already all the breaches in dams in both cultivation and residential sections of Yakusari and Joanna were fixed in 200 hours at a cost of some $2.4 million.
Later today one of the 312 caterpillar hymac excavators would move to Lesbeholden for 100 hours to repair dams there.
Tomorrow, the other caterpillar would go to Mibicuri to spend the same time doing the very job. He explained that the residential areas were done under the project since the dams pass through these locations.
A bulldozer from the National Drainage and Irrigation Association is also lending support. In Black Bush Polder harvesting of paddy commenced two weeks ago on a small scale and this is expected to build up later this week.
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