Prime Minister Representative for Region Six, Gobin Harbhajan, is accusing the Regional Administration of telling farmers “not to go into crop”.
He has since stated that such a move is political and is “damaging to farmers”.
Harbhajan said that the information being peddled to farmers is that there is no fuel and that the existing fuel currently available is not adequate for the entire crop. “It is political but it is not coming from the Regional Chairman because I spoke with him and he has distanced himself from that,” Harbhajan said.
He is contending that the persons who are reportedly telling the farmers not to go into crop are being mischievous and that farmers have financial obligations to banks and lenders.
“Rice is a business and politics should be put aside.”
However, he did admit that the region is currently cash-strapped and there is a shortage of fuel.
According to Harbhajan water is currently being pumped in Black Bush Polder but there is no water going to farmers at the 52-74 areas. He added that the Seaforth Canal is currently being cleaned by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
When that is completed the pumps are expected to commence working in the 52-74 areas.
Member of Parliament Barbara Pilgrim from Region Six had commented on a social media forum that
there was a“report of a plot being hatched at a wake house to call the farmers, especially the rice farmers, and tell them not to plant.
The statement continued that the farmers would not get water since “the government does not have money to purchase fuel, but has money to pay public servants”.
She added that she paid a visit to several parts and that the crops were “well planted and watered” and fuel was available.
She is also calling the move to tell farmers not to plant as a political directive and suggested to have the Guyana Defence Force put in charge to monitor the pump operations within the Black Bush Polder and 52-74 areas since it was done in the past.
Meanwhile, Regional Chairman David Armogan has since indicated that NDIA has pledged to assist with $10 million for the purchase of fuel to work the pumps.
He disclosed that it was announced at a board meeting on Thursday.
Armogan added that the Region may only manage to contribute another $10 million but that still won’t be sufficient to work the pumps for the remainder of the crop.
According to Armogan, on a realistic standpoint, “the region does not have sufficient funds to last till the end of the year and if the weather continues to be dry from now until December, we don’t have sufficient money to buy fuel”.
He stated that there is currently 9,000 gallons of fuel at 52-74 and another 10,000 gallons at Black Bush Polder, but the 10,000 gallons will only last for 10 days with 1000 gallon being utilized per day in BBP.
The Chairman noted that water will flow from Monday since the Seaforth Canal is in the latter stages of cleaning by NDIA, but he questioned what will happen if there is no rainy season.
“If this dry weather continues, we will run into problems because the region don’t have funds so although NDIA will assist us, it still isn’t sufficient to carry the farmers through the year. That amount of money will only carry us for another 15 days.
“We still have a situation if rain doesn’t fall at all then we will have probably about two weeks of December without money to buy the fuel. I have since written the President to intervene in the situation,” Armogan said.
The Chairman has also mentioned that he has heard about the “rumours” that persons are going around telling farmers not plant but he stated that if such is being done, it is not a demand by the regional administration but rather a prediction and caution to the farmers given the current situation with the lack of funds to purchase fuel.
“Why people are probably doing that is because they are anticipating a full dry weather unto December and so they are looking that if you don’t get the additional two weeks fuel into December then there might be a crisis for the farmers.
“This is not a demand; this is merely advice that persons are probably giving,” he said.
There are currently two pumps working in Black Bush Polder. One is currently being fixed because of mechanical issues. Pumps at 52-74 will begin working on Monday.
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