Rice farmers at First Savannah, Mahaicony Creek have indicated that they have managed to save some 25 acres of bearing rice plants from flood waters they have been battling for weeks in the small backland community. The crop saved carries an approximate cash value of some $3M
Farmers said that that they were forced to implement their own mechanisms of getting excess water from rather grown rice plants when torrential downpours – from June to late August of this year – caused a badly maintained irrigational canal to overflow its banks in several locations, flooding the rice fields excessively.
It was noted yesterday that the situation to some extent has been finally addressed by the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA), and representatives from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) who visited the area recently to assess the situation. The farmers said that these two entities have informed them that they have compiled a report of the situation which has been sent to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), for them to be advised on the way forward.
Meanwhile farmers have stated that they are seeking some sort of compensation – either in the form of cash to purchase seed paddy, or will accept paddy for replanting purposes from the organization.
When the flooding situation began several weeks ago, farmers had reached out to this publication with the hope that their situation would have been looked into by the relevant authorities. Farmers had informed that the MMA/ADA and NDIA had been ignoring their community for years and had not been paying much attention to drainage and irrigation in the area.
At that time farmers had projected millions of dollars in losses, a claim that was refuted by management of the MMA/ADA. This entity had sent out a release which stated that the farmers had not suffered any losses and had owed the entity almost $1B in fees, which was preventing them (the authority) from executing works in the area.
Angered by such reports, farmers at First Savannah had chartered a boat to transport media operatives to the location, and took them into the backland areas to have a firsthand view of the situation. Reporters were able to see the extent of damage to a main access dam, and also the state of an irrigation main canal that was badly in need of maintenance.
Farmers were forced to execute their own repairs to the dam at their own expense. An excavator sent to the area shortly after ran out of fuel after the first day, halting works and forcing farmers to pool their resources to rent a private excavator to assist.
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