Extensive drainage to commence in Mara in the new week

road works to follow

Residents of Mara Village, which is located on the East Bank of Berbice, will soon benefit from a series of extensive drainage works.

This was disclosed by Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday during a meeting at the Schempoed  Primary School.

The minister was at the time spearheading the government’s ongoing flood relief distribution exercise.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while addressing the gathering

While addressing those present, Minister Mustapha announced that in the coming week, the ministry through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will commence a series of extensive drainage works in the area.

“When I met with you the first time at Plegt Anker, I told you that the ministry will do some extensive drainage works in the community because this area is a farming community. Since then, I’ve asked our technical officers to put things in place, and from this week, the machine will be coming into the area to commence those works. The machine will work to tie the conservancy dam and then it will continue with the other works that were promised. You can rest assured that a lot of work will be done in this community,” Minister Mustapha explained.

Minister Mustapha told farmers that since taking office, the government has expended close to $40 million to execute drainage works in the East Bank Berbice area. He also told them that the ministry is working to have new lands open for farmers come 2022 and will also be putting the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure farmers have access to these lands.

Agriculture Minister while presenting a farmer from Mara Village with his flood-relief grant

“Those works included the rehabilitation of critical structures because, what we are seeing; although our country is advancing with the production of oil and gas, more people are returning to agriculture and we are seeing more investments being made in the sector. This is because of the resources that the government has been investing in the sector over the last year. With the renewed interest we are seeing in agriculture, the resources are becoming more stretched because we have to develop more infrastructure and open more lands so that farmers can extend their cultivation. We also have to work with farmers to find more markets for their produce while encouraging value-added,” Minister Mustapha explained.

As it relates to the government’s ongoing flood relief cash grant, Minister Mustapha told farmers that they would be benefitting from the cash relief during the day’s exercise because many of the farmers from the area reported that they were not captured in the initial registration and verification exercise.

“When we had the last flood-relief distribution exercise, farmers from this area said that their names were not on the list. I made a commitment that those who suffered would receive assistance. The Regional Chairman and our extension officers were able to get that list and do the verification. Today, a team from the Ministry is here to extend that assistance to you,” Minister Mustapha said.

A section of the gathering

Farmers who received their grants thanked the government for extending the initiative to the area and said they would use the monies to return to the land as soon as possible.

While addressing concerns over the dilapidated state in which the main access road is currently in, Minister Muatpha told residents that works to upgrade the condition of the road are expected to commence soon. These works, he said, will be done through the Ministry of Public Works.

“I’m glad that I was able to come here so that I could get a first-hand look at the condition of the road. I want to let you know that works to improve the condition of the road through the Ministry of Public Works and I’m hoping that those works can commence shortly. Almost $60 million will be expended to carry out upgrades to that stretch of road. Tenders for those works are already open,” the Minister explained.