Design phase of Research Station almost complete
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, April 17, 2018
The design phase of the Agriculture Research Station set to be located at Pirara area, central Rupununi is almost complete. This was disclosed by the Civil Engineer of the Agriculture Sector Development Unit, Raymond Latchman, during his presentation at a recent stakeholders’ consultation at Lethem, Region Nine.
“The consultants are still looking at the dam design and the station design. We are in the final stages of that and we are hoping to have the report by the end of the month. We will share the report with all the stakeholders,” Latchman explained.
The Agriculture Research Station is the larger portion of the entire Hinterland Sustainable Agriculture programme, which is aimed at improving agriculture through environmentally and sustainable methods. A total of $265M was allocated in the 2018 National Budget for its design and construction.
The research station will consist of demonstration plots, herds of cattle, poultry rearing, fish ponds, orchards and seed stock. It will also boast a huge reservoir that will provide irrigation year-round, thereby addressing the extended dry seasons which result in drought-like conditions and an abattoir.
According to Latchman, the engineer along with the consultant of the project are looking at various aspects of the station and what it requires. “The reservoir, the size has been drastically reduced to 200 acres, that allows us to carry out research, but it would be supplemented by additional sources of water so at this point the environmental and social personnel officer is on the ground.”
Latchman said that the consultant is also visiting the various villages located in proximity to Pirara, to gather information for the social and environmental aspects; this involves constant contact with the village. Bird surveys and fish sampling are also being carried out in the area to ensure that the proposed works do not adversely affect the environment.
Latchman added that the project also included construction of an abattoir and incentive packages for communities. He noted that the incentives are based on the research done by the station, hence packages will be developed from the research.
Meanwhile, the construction of the abattoir is linked to improved breeds, and a pasture, also associated with the research to be carried out at the station.
The station itself has a value of US$4M. This entails the reservoir, buildings, drainage and irrigation systems and the general operation aspect. There is a small budgetary allocation for the operation aspect.
This project is part of a US$15M IDB loan with the long-term objective being increased productivity in the agriculture sector while maintaining sustainable and climate resilient use of Guyana’s natural resources. The loan agreement will be implemented over a six-year period.
The will cater for institutional coordination through the forming of a National Steering Committee (NSC) and a Regional Management Committee that will comprise of representatives from the Ministries of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Business, Natural Resources, Finance, Office of Climate Change, Ministry of the Presidency, the Regional Chairman and a regional representative of the programme’s targeted beneficiaries.
By: Synieka Thorne