Excavator deployed to clear canals in Reg. 6
─ farmers prepare for new crop
─ urged to hold regional officials accountable
DPI, Guyana, Sunday, November 10, 2019
The Ministry of Agriculture has assured rice farmers in Region 6, that they are working on getting clogged canals cleared and fuel for pumps to irrigate the lands. To this end, excavators have been deployed to the area as early as Saturday, November 9.
The issue arose when Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder and a team visited Number 55 Village and Black Bush Polder on Friday, November 8.
The farmers, most of whom have already prepared their fields, are awaiting water before they begin cultivation of next crop. They explained to the minister and his team that it is essential they start before the end of the year to avoid having to harvest during the rainy seasons next year.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Frederick Flatts explained that they had previously installed five pumps to address this situation.
Responding to concerns that only two of the pumps are operational, Minister Holder noted that this is due to negligence on the part of the regional administration. He explained that the government had put systems in place to have NDIA handle the main Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) and the administrative regions handle the secondary drains. This, he said, was agreed in 2018, however, the Region 6 administration reneged on the agreement, thus resulting in many of the issues currently being faced.
He cited an example when the NDIA purchased some 40,000 gallons of fuel to remedy a similar situation in 2018, and expressed disappointment that the issue had arisen again. He called on the residents to hold the regional administration accountable.
Nevertheless, the minister pledged to source funds to purchase the needed fuel.
A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 12 at the NDIA for follow-up intervention.