Agriculture being resuscitated in Dallawalla

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A collaborative effort between the Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten) Regional Democratic Council and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority will see the revitalisation of agricultural production in Dallawalla.

Dallawalla, a riverain community, was once the source of a significant amount of food produced in Region Ten. It is located up the Demerara River about 20 minutes’ drive from Linden. It can be accessed either by boat from Mackenzie, by trail from the Linden Soesdyke Highway or by back roads through Christianburg.

Regional Chairman, Renis Morian, RDC executives, Chief Executive Officer of NDIA Frederick Flatts and a group of engineers recently visited to get a first-hand look at the drainage and irrigation systems.

Morian, through the RDC’s Agricultural Committee, is striving to enhance food security in the region and return Dallawalla to its former glory as a vibrant agricultural community.

While there are still a few farmers remaining in the community, the majority were forced to leave after their farms were regularly flooded. Morian opined it was “a well thought out political strategy back then,” to keep Region Ten, continually dependent on other regions for food.

“Emphasis wasn’t placed on supporting agriculture in Region Ten. As a result, the Region does not enjoy food security…So we are looking to see what can be done to resuscitate farming, from the level of the RDC.  We will call a meeting with those farmers who once worked in that area, to see who are willing to return”, Morian related.

The NDIA officials also committed to having the drainage and irrigation in the community rectified and public calls will be made for farmers to return and redevelop their plots of land.

In addition to Dallawalla, the RDC Chairman indicated that efforts are underway to restore agricultural development in other communities such as Christianburg and West Watooka. He added that the RDC is cognisant of the reoccurrence of a scarcity of food experienced due to the 2005 coastal flood. Efforts are also being made, Morian added, to provide technical and material support in the form of training, seeds, tools, etc., will be given to all those interested in farming.

While the RDC has four programmes that are budgeted for: Public Works, Education, Health and Administration, Morian wants agriculture to be added to the list so that greater financial and technical support can be given.

He said, “We are petitioning the government, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Communities to have agriculture in 2019, to be included as a programme within the Regional Democratic Council’s budget for 2019.”

One of the strategies is the establishment of a weekend farmers’ market adjacent to the Wismar Municipal Market on Burnham Drive. This will serve as a means of regaining the confidence of the residents. “If we can get a steady flow of food every weekend, that will help encourage residents to look internally for that food supply.”

By Vanessa Braithwaite

Images courtesy of Vanessa Braithwaite

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