More relief for flood-affected No. 42 Village residents
-as Agri. Minister reaffirms govt’s commitment to restoring agriculture
-works completed in Rosignol following Minister’s intervention
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday conducted a follow-up visit to Region Five flood-affected communities, where he assured them that the Government remains committed to providing the necessary support to help them restart their livelihoods.
The Minister engaged residents from Number 42 Village. Farmer Edmond Gravesande, said many young people in the village who have farmland needed improved infrastructure to access their land during the rainy season.
“I do farming for 41 years. It is easier for farmers now but they are some young men who are interested in farming but they don’t have nothing. I don’t know in what way y’all could assist them. They have land at the back of the railway embankment and those lands need proper infrastructure.
One of the things that would make the work easier, if they get good access to go in. When the rainy season comes you can’t get access to bring out ya produce. I know y’all giving help because if y’all didn’t dig out that sideline trench we woulda still deh in water so I’m hoping that some help could be given to them,” he said.
Minister Mustapha told the farmer that his Ministry was willing to provide the necessary infrastructure and that the engineer from the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agriculture Development Authority will visit the area to see the scope of the works so that farmers can get access bring out their produce.
Additionally, a cattle farmer told the Minister that rice farmers are becoming frustrated because some of the cattle that were brought from the back lands due to the flooding, are entering their fields and eating the little rice they have left.
“I’m a cattle owner but we got a lil issue now with the cattle dem. At the back of the canal flood and everybody bring dem animal and got them in front but now, in front, rice planting. Some farmers going around and seh that they get word that ya can’t pound cow so wuh gon happen with de rice because dem cow ah go in people rice field and eat out de rice,” the farmer said.
Minister Mustapha told farmers that the Guyana Livestock Development Authority and the Guyana Rice Development Board have been working to put a system in place to assist cattle farmers with securing their animals. He also urged cattle farmers to be more responsible with their animals.
“The cattle farmers need to display some form of responsibility because we have to ensure that the cattle do not destroy people’s crops. When this flood started close to 50,000 acres of rice were already sown. The latest figure was about 96,000 acres sown. Out of that almost half has been destroyed by the flood. Let’s not have the cattle destroy what we have left,” Minister Mustapha said.
He also informed farmers that a team from the Ministry would be returning to meet residents on Tuesday to put systems in place to have that issue resolved.
Residents also benefited from a quantity of flood-relief hampers.
At Rosignol, residents told Minister Mustapha that the works ordered during his last visit a few weeks ago were almost complete.
Ms. Sunita Persaud, a farmer, said also appealed for additional materials to prevent flooding in the future.
“The work that you guys promised us, the water gone down everything. But one thing me want fuh say, that we need some more tubes and like if the water rise back again, we need one pump in the area.
I am at Rosignol Stelling road. Every time, sir, when the water rise, me sell a market, me a plant. Every time de flood come, he duck out everything. Two months now me nuh sell at de market,” she said.
Minister Mustapha said outstanding works will be completed. He also informed residents that assessment teams comprising representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, as well as regional representatives and officials from the Civil Defence Commission would be visiting all of the flooded areas in the country.
He explained that before the Government can move forward with the next phase of its flood-relief efforts an assessment of the losses must be completed. He also said officers from the Ministry are expected to complete their flood assessment by the end of the coming week. As such, the Minister urged those who suffered losses to be honest in their reporting.
“When you are giving information to the officers, people need to be honest. We don’t want persons inflating their losses. If you lost 20 meat birds, please don’t tell the officers you lost hundreds or say you lost hundreds of roots of cash crops if you only had a few. If you do that there will be a strain on the entire system and prevent others from receiving help.
The resources are limited and as it stands now, thousands of farms across this country were destroyed. Teams have been visiting flooded areas. I know many of you would’ve lost but rest assured the teams will be coming to every house to do the assessment. Everyone that was affected will be targeted and given the much-needed assistance,” Minister Mustapha said.