Aug 05, 2022 News
– Mustapha blames heavy rain for not fixing them
Kaieteur News – Rice farmers from #52 to #74 area on the Corentyne Coast in Region Six (East Berbice – Corentyne) were assured that all the dams in the cultivation areas would be rehabilitated as soon as possible.
This was disclosed by Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha during a meeting with the farmers at the New Market Primary School on Wednesday. During the meeting, many farmers told the minister that the dams were in a deplorable state and that they were having issues accessing their rice fields. In addition to the terrible state of the dams, farmers said that several canals in the cultivation areas needed to be cleared.
One farmer present said that farmers had rice that would be ready for harvesting in a few days but given the state of the dams, it would be difficult.
“We have in there about 70 acres of rice bearing there now. We need the dam to track out. The dam needs to track out now because of the continuous rain that falling. There are areas where we need the machine to work. This is urgent,” the farmer said. While responding to the farmers’ concerns, Minister Mustapha said that the ministry has a continuous dam maintenance programme and called on farmers to be more responsible when using the dams, especially during the rainy periods.
Mustapha told the farmers “Issues with dams don’t exist only in Black Bush Polder or in the areas. These are common issues across the country. We have to work together to develop better strategies and be a bit more responsible. When farmers cut their rice and use the dams irresponsibly, these dams are once again destroyed. Some farmers have no consideration for other farmers who have to use the dams. We have to begin taking into consideration that other farmers have to use it.
“When you use these heavy-duty machines like the tractors and combines, the dams will continue to be destroyed once this type of weather continues. This will continue until we can build permanent all-weather roads across the country. Hopefully, we can start some of those works next year,” the minister explained further.
He also told farmers that while the ministry has been working across the country to ensure all of the dams in the cultivation area were repaired, persistent rainfall due to climate change has been adding to the issues with maintaining the infrastructure.
“We are repairing these dams so that you, the farmers, can harvest your crop. For the last two years, we’ve seen changes in the weather and the harsh effects of climate change. We are now in August. July and August are supposed to be the driest months of the year and we are still experiencing constant rainfall across the country. That is why the ministry is working to boost the drainage system. By the end of this year, we’ll have an additional 11 pumps in the system. We are working with a financial institution to be able to procure another 40 pumps so that we can have pumps installed at every sluice across the country. I’ve also asked the NDIA to inspect those areas that have canals that need to be cleared so that we can develop a programme to clear those channels,” Minister Mustapha said.
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