– clogged canals add to challenges
Many can attest to the fact that agriculture was once the primary economic activity for most in the Pomeroon, Region Two.
Many of the citrus, coconuts, ground provisions and other cash crops sold in the markets around Georgetown, were cultivated in the Pomeroon. Today, however, acres of once fertile farm lands lie abandoned; others completely blanketed in flood water.
As was explained by the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder last Wednesday, climate change may be responsible for the sudden destruction of the once vibrant culture of agriculture in the Pomeroon. It is also believed that the sudden rise in the sea level, is somewhat responsible for the uncontrollable springtides, which will at times overtop on to farmlands.
Kaieteur News understands that many farmers have abandoned their farmlands, and even homes in parts of Pomeroon because of severe flooding.
A farmer who has been farming in the Siriki area for over 15 years, explained that the non-availability of markets has moved many like himself, to peruse small scale farming.
Speaking on the issue of flooding however, he said “Flooding is the biggest problem in Siriki. We get major floods at least twice a year and during each flood we lose about half acre of each crop. The high spring tides from the Pomeroon River is one of the biggest problem… Some people near me sell out because of the flooding.
Apart from the overtopping of the Pomeroon River, it is believed that poor drainage also poses a serious threat to farming. Minister Holder said that the Pomeroon River is clogged at the mouth. He noted that dredging itself has to be taken with the context of rising sea levels.
This publication was informed that smaller canals such as the Friendship Canal are also clogged. This 65- mile canal which runs from Charity [Essequibo Coast], to Aberdeen [Lower Pomeroon], has been clogged for some 13 years. Based on reports from residents, weeds now overrun the once 30 foot canal, leaving a mere seven foot trail for speedboats and canoes.
A farmer who has been cultivating coconuts, bananas and other cash crops in the Friendship Canal area, explained that the clogged canal has contributed to significant flooding in the area.
“We not getting proper drainage for the past 15 years… we got to plant every day because the drainage isn’t there we gotta work extra to compensate for the destroyed crops. Sometimes boats come in to buy produce but they punish a lot because the canal is clogged up.”
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