– Areas affected by flooding, overtopping to benefit
Within the next year, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) is expected to receive 12 high-capacity pumps to assist with the issues of drainage in and along the coastland regions of Guyana.
This is as a result of an agreement inked in February 2017 between the Government of Guyana and the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) of India for the acquisition of high capacity fixed and mobile drainage and irrigation pumps under a US$3.6 million line of credit (LOC).
Yesterday, Chief Executive Officer of NDIA , Fredericks Flatts, signed a contract with the representative Indian company, Apollo International Limited (AIL), Ajay Jha, for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of nine (9) fixed and three (3) mobile high-capacity pumps and associated structures and equipment.
The signing took place at the Ministry of Agriculture Boardroom, at Regent and Vlissengen Roads, Bourda, in the presence of agriculture officials and representatives of the India- based Apollo International.
During his remarks at the signing ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, noted that the Ministry through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), has been concentrating on water management since the majority of Guyana’s agricultural activities are practised in its low lying coastal regions.
“Reducing the risk of flooding is a critical area of focus for the Ministry of Agriculture as Guyana is highly vulnerable to flooding, particularly in the coastal areas which are below sea level.
“We have (therefore) reorganized the NDIA to manage water in a more deliberate and structured manner, looking at the unique needs of each region and allocating the resources to implement relevant plans,” Holder said.
He noted that the additional 12 pumps under the Indian Line of Credit will see an increase of 10% in available pumps and a corresponding increase in pumping capacity.
According to Holder, the NDIA currently directly oversees the operation of more than 120 drainage pumps in Guyana. The 12 additional pumps are expected to drain 37,780 acres of agricultural and housing lands in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six.
He noted that the acquisition of these pumps should reduce the risks of flooding in low-lying areas and will bring relief to residents and farmers whose economic activities are usually disrupted by flooding caused by excessive rainfall and the overtopping of the rivers and sea defences.
“Approximately 1,242 rice farmers and many other residents from Charity to Zorg-en Vlygt in Region Two will benefit from a 50% reduction in flooding of their front lands.”
In Den Amstel (Region Three), 3,500 acres in the backlands will be available to rice and cash crop farmers to cultivate in 2019. In Hope (Region Four) and Rose Hall (Region Six), the fixed pumps will replace existing mobile pumps allowing for increases in efficiency and reduction of flooding by 50%. Further, in Nooten Zuil (Region Four), a 75% reduction of flooding events will be realized by the installation of this pump.
Lastly, at Mora Point in Region Five, the new pump will be used for irrigating at least 502 rice farmers’ lands in that catchment area. More so, it is projected that there will be a 35% reduction in losses during periods of drought.”
Meanwhile, the three mobile pumps will provide drainage services to Georgetown and its environs; including Church Street, Sussex Street and South Ruimveldt, covering approximately 2,158 acres ; resulting in an 18% reduction of flooding events in Georgetown.
The Minister lauded the Indian Government for offering support to Guyana’s agricultural industry.
He noted there has been much cross fertilization of Indian culture, customs and traditions with Guyana, especially, in agriculture.
Over the years, the agriculture sector has had technical assistance in the coconut and spices sectors. These specialists would have assisted us in building the foundations of many of the programmes we have in these two industries today and for this, we are truly grateful.
Within the sector, we have benefitted from scholarships from the Indian Government in a number of fields; specifically the rice industry has had Graduates with Masters of Science degrees in Botany, Biotechnology, Agricultural Physics, Agronomy and even a PHD in Agronomy in the last five years.
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