READ project ends – leaves its mark on small scale producers -Minister Ramsammy

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Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy listens as an exhibitor explains something to him

The six- year Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development (READ) project whose main goal has been to improve the living conditions of poor households, especially small scale producers and vulnerable groups, thereby increasing their human, social, organisational and financial assets, has concluded.

 Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told farmers today at an exhibition to mark the end of the project that was financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by the government and the Agriculture Ministry’s Agricultural Sector Development Unit (ASDU) that the project has impacted small producers.

The beneficiaries of the READ project were entrepreneurs, agro processors, producers and enterprise owners from Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten.

            Minister Ramsammy, speaking at the event held at the Guyana International Conference Centre,  observed that in Guyana “…we have lived as a ‘least developed’ country and we are now a middle income country, our next stop is a high middle income country, and that will happen because Guyana has good farmers.”

 He noted too, that the closing of the READ event has shown the many successes which have come about since the government has shown a willingness to invest in small farmers. In the process, it achieved the support of IFAD, although initially it did not seem that the programme would have been successful. However, much has happened under new leadership in the programme.

The new leadership was brought into the programme through the late Vimala Balgobin, who understood its vision. The minister stated that Vimala understood her job and knew what had to be done and she was doing it. He observed that IFAD had wanted a numeracy programme in Parika Backdam and he suggested that it would be better to build a bridge instead.

Graduating at the top of her class with an MBA, Vimala demonstrated to the young people in Guyana that there was much scope to develop here. “Your best tribute to Vimala is to ensure that your organisation and business continue to prosper,” he stated. Vimala died recently during a vehicular accident on the trail to Lethem.

Minister Ramsammy observed that farming is one of the most important businesses in the world, adding that “For far too long in our country, we have treated farming and farmers as peasants…the truth is they feed our country and our world.” The 2005 flood had a crippling impact on the country’s agriculture, he noted, and urged the farmers that as business people, they should use farming and agriculture to promote their businesses.

The READ project recognised the many small groups which need support, and the efforts of government to promote agriculture do not end with the project.

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Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy listens as this woman explains the product he holds in his hand

He has instructed the Permanent Secretary George Jervis to ensure that the READ staff do not disappear from the ministry and that they will find ways to help the farmers to succeed through the linking of producers and buyers, since businesses collapse if there is no one to buy. The fact that more than 32 countries around the world are buying rice from Guyana is what makes this successful, he indicated.

Agriculture in Guyana cannot be merely to meet food security; it has to be an export industry the minister insisted. However, farmers should get registered with the Food and Drug Agency. He explained that in Guyana, some things can be grown better than in other countries, and with better seeds and better breeds of animals and better feeding mechanisms, things can go even further. This is what Government is trying to do which will reduce the cost of production.

He also pointed out that farmers are not earning much from their crops and the new work that the ministry is doing is to link the farmers directly to the consumer, who will pay the farmers. The READ staff will now become facilitators, who will make the links. He added that the Guyana Marketing Corporation will become the avenue for Guyana’s goods and will create contacts. Moving from subsistence to genuine businesses will see that every farm will be registered if the products are to be sold to hotels in Guyana. Whilst hotels have to demonstrate that they are buying safe food, farms will have to be registered.

The minister also noted that whilst raw material should be converted into processed goods and packaged to international standards so that they can compete with brands from around the world. “…we have to start with us, by buying from us…we got to make sure that we support our own,” Minister Ramsammy posited.

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Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy addresses farmers at the Guyana International Conference Centre

He made reference to a value-added workshop held by Arnold Mendonca from the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) from which farmers learnt to make sausages among other products.  He said they could do so safely and be certified and take it to the hotels. “…we could build the enterprise, farming remains our best opportunity to elevate our lives and grow our economy.”

Whilst Guyana’s economy will have to be diversified through oil and gas and ICT and services which would all become part of it, “…the pillar has been and will be agriculture. I believe that farming is a fledgling business, ready to take off as an important contributor to the development of our country and the Caribbean,” the minister stated.

He observed that of the US$5B spent by the Caribbean on food imports, Guyana could provide much of that food. This money should go to Guyanese farmers for chicken, mutton and lamb. He added that it is his belief that some of Guyana’s meat should be processed instead of purchasing them from outside.

 “We should, by the end of this year, be purchasing carrots from local manufacturers, and only blended flour should be used in all commercial enterprises which mean that a certain percentage should be blended with wheat flour,” he added.

            Meanwhile, members of the groups who were present lauded the READ project which helped them significantly. Among them were Marsha Williams of the Mainstay Village Council Farmers’ Group; Denise Thomas of the Kuru Kuru Farmers’ Crops and Livestock Association; Jived Ishmael of the West Berbice Sheep and Goat Farmers’ Association; Dhaniram Ramchand of the Bath Referendum Farmers’ Group and Paula Marks of the Young Women’s Christian Association. 

 

New FAO Country Representative to Guyana present credentials to Agri. Minister

-plans to continue foster ties to push agriculture in the region

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country Representative to Guyana Mr. Reuben Hamilton Robertson today presented his letters of Credence to Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
The newly appointed FAO representative during brief discussions with Dr. Ramsammy spoke of ways in which the FAO can work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to further push agriculture in the Region.
Among the areas of interest discussed were Agro-Processing, Value Added and Disaster Risk Management.

FAO Country Representative present his Letters of Credence   to Dr. Ramsammy

FAO Country Representative present his Letters of Credence   to Dr. Ramsammy

                     “The success of any DRM program depends on coordination and continuous monitoring and this is one of the areas FAO is excited to be working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, ” he said.
Enhanced focus was placed on the Ministry 2013/2020 strategy which targeted the F5 approach in agriculture- Food, Fiber, Fuel, Fashion and Furniture. According to Robertson, such efforts will see Guyana reducing its imports in a major way.
Mr. Robertson’s work as the new Country Representative will be to not only enhance relations but to strengthen coordination to further push agriculture in Region.

 

Government keen on pursing alternative energy sources- President – commissions gasifier in Essequibo

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President Donald and other officials commissioning the gasifier at Ramlakhan and Sons Rice Mill at Exmouth, Essequibo

The move by a rice farmer to take up a challenge by government, to explore the use of alternative energy sources was welcomed President Donald Ramotar.

        The president visited the Ramlakhan and Sons Rice Mill, located at Exmouth, Essequibo Coast, on March 21, for a firsthand look at  rice miller Ramesh Ramlakhan’s operations. The miller has invested approximately $40 million in an effort to reduce the cost of fuel consumption at his mill. The plant which arrived late last year, has already undergone installation and successful testing. The state -of -the- art unit works with the gases derived from the rice husk. The gases emitted are cleaned of solid particles, tar/carbon and water/moisture, and directed into the combustion chambers of a 250 kW power generation set, replacing 70 per cent of the diesel normally required.

     According to Ramlakhan, the gasifier would greatly reduce his energy costs, improve his market viability and also allow him to keep paying a competitive price to farmers for their paddy, making sure they stay profitable.

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The gasifier at Ramlakhan and Sons Rice Mill at Exmouth, Essequibo 

Government views energy management and conservation as an important tool to ensure the rice industry meets critical objectives for short and long – term goals.      Enhanced energy efficient technologies for design and profits of rice mills have been identified to improve energy efficiency, lower the industry’s dependence on fossil fuel, reduce the environmental impact, reduce carbon emissions and lower production costs.

 

During his state visit to India earlier this year, President Ramotar discussed the use of such technology to improve efficiency and reduce operations costs in various sectors using alternative energy sources such as the  gasifier and bio-fuels.

 

Rice cereal factory to create jobs for over 200 Essequibians – President turns sod for facility at Anna Regina

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More than 200 jobs will be created for persons living along the Essequibo Coast in the near future with the establishment of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology’s (IAST) $100M rice cereal factory. The rice cereal is branded ‘Morning Glory’.

Head of State, Donald Ramotar and other senior government functionaries today turned the sod at Anna Regina, Essequibo for the factory. The IAST also launched its latest line of local product, a nutrition bar at the ceremony.

 President Ramotar lauded the initiative as he noted that this is a step in the right direction to add value to rice and rice products.

“We are meeting today at a very happy and important occasion to launch the construction of a factory to produce in the first instance rice cereal, and the first step to add value to our product”.

Citing how important this initiative is for Guyana as a whole, President Ramotar pointed to the fact that Guyana being a rice producing country is fundamentally a price taker.

This is in spite of the fact that local rice production has grown tremendously over the years from 90,000 tons in 1990s to more than 600,000 tons today.

This figure, the President said, makes Guyana very big in its own context, but when compared to the world market, Guyana is just a small player.

“We therefore are price takers, we do not determine prices, we do not determine world prices, we take the price that the world has and that is why in order to ensure that we insulate ourselves from the external shocks that come about when prices internally fall, it is important for us to add value to the products.”

 He said, “This is one of the areas in which we can add value to our product and because this will be produced not from high quality rice, but this can be produced from the broken (rice) and still fetches a good price on the local and international market.”

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The location where the rice cereal factory will be established

Being optimistic about this project, President Ramotar said more business minds from the private sector should follow suit.

“…And I hope it will serve as an example for the private sector to invest in other areas… (I) hope it will have a demonstration effect.”

The Head of State also took the time to assure the rice industry that his administration will always stand by it even amidst calls by the opposition for the administration to step away.

“I’m promising you now and, of the future that every PPP/C government will defend and uphold the rice industry so that we can get a better quality of life from it.”

Meanwhile Commerce Minister, Irfaan Ali also hailed the project a success even in the face of criticisms by the opposition who said it was merely a dream. Ali said this sod turning clearly indicates that it is a dream that has come to pass, and even great world leaders had dreams which also materalised.

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President Donald Ramotar holds aloft a box of the cereal ‘Morning Glory’

Noting his government’s confidence in this initiative, Minister Ali said he is sure that it will be a success story even though there will be some challenges, one of which is cheap electricity. He said this will eventually be dealt with as the administration is pushing ahead with plans for the Amaila Falls Hydro Project.

Giving some insight on the project was head of the IAST, Professor Suresh Narine. He said this initiative aims to produce food at the very basic level and most of the intended markets will be locally, the Caribbean and further afield.

“This means that what we produce must be of a very high quality and you know anybody can make a thing, it takes tremendous effort and effort of an entire community to make a good thing, and that is what we have to focus on here now.”

This facility will have the initial capacity to process 2,000 tons of rice per year however; it is also being built in such a way that if the market that is being targeted grows it can easily be expanded.

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President Donald Ramotar, Commerce Minister Irfaan Ali and Head, IAST, Professor Suresh Narine turn the sod for the rice cereal factory

According to Professor Narine, the plants in the factory have already been made in such a way that they can be expanded to utilise 30,000 tons of rice annually.

Upon completion the factory will employ some 105 persons who will work one shift and over a period of time a three- shift system will be introduced, thereby paving the way for more than 200 persons to be employed.

Within another four weeks, training of persons eligible to work in the factory will begin after which they will be presented with a food handler’s certificate so by the time the factory is completed there will be a trained and equipped work force to take up employment.

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The gathering at the launch of the rice cereal factory in Essequibo, Region Two

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Essequibians sampling  the rice cereal

 

 

The Truth is that the AFC is home, in the warm embrace of their leader, David Granger

Nothing that the AFC and its leaders say could ever be taken seriously and never could anyone believe them. They were very clear – they will never join any coalition with APNU, but if APNU wanted APNU could dissolve itself under the leadership of the AFC. When confronted earlier because the secret meetings were not so secret after all, they were adamant that they would never join a coalition with the PNC or its alter-ego, APNU. They claimed that they could win an election by themselves and that they are not a small party. They claimed that the PNC and other parties must join them, but they are not interested in joining anyone.

Ramjattan proclaimed mightily that only the AFC can lead any coalition. They sent out their accolades in Regions 5 and 6 where their supporters were loud in rejecting the idea. Their newest member – Professor Samad indeed could not be clearer in denying there was any talk about a coalition, saying that he and others would never allow the AFC to enter into a coalition with the PNC-led APNU. It was not only Professor Samad, other leaders of the AFC were careful to let everyone know that it was not in the interest of the AFC or Guyana for the AFC to become a part of APNU. The secret discussions were about seeing who, groups or individuals, might want to join the AFC.

Now the truth is out of the bag – AFC has dissolved itself into APNU, under the leadership of the PNC and of the Leader of the PNC, David Granger. Now they sing David Granger’s praise. Nagamootoo is proud to say that he went to the same school as Granger. But there was a time when the mighty voice and pen of Nagamootoo denounced the army in which Granger was a leader for helping to rig elections and for terrorizing the Guyanese population. Today a person that both Ramjattan and Nagamootoo used to be fearful of is their hero.

I have always had a respectful relationship with Professor Samad. He has treated me with respect and I have treated him with respect. It is under such circumstances that I ask Professor Samad to be truthful. Is he denying that he said there was no intention of AFC to join with the PNC in a coalition? He said so and people in Regions 5 and 6 believed him. What has Professor Samad to say now? I challenge Professor Samad to show people he is driven by integrity – let him go on television and say that he never said that the AFC will not join in a coalition.

Maybe Professor Samad was lied to and misled by his new leaders, those that promised him much. But Professor Samad in order to maintain his integrity need to admit that he was misled by Ramjattan and Nagamootoo. Poor Professor Samad now is learning that he is but a pawn of these deceitful leaders. He should not feel too bad because others said the same thing.

I challenge Professor Samad, a very intelligent man, to tell me that Ramjattan did not himself said the same thing – that the AFC will not form a coalition with APNU unless APNU wanted to come under the leadership of the AFC. We must be upfront with our people. When I listened to Professor Samad and other AFC leaders that they would never join in a coalition with APNU, under the leadership of a PNC leader I believed them. I am disappointed, just like the AFC supporters around Guyana. The AFC dissolved itself into the PNC under the leadership of Granger. That is the plain truth and very different from the story they told not so long ago, repeatedly around the nation, but almost daily in Regions 5 and 6.

I am not disappointed because I believed that they have improved their chances to win an election – but that they lied so easily and effortlessly. Mr. Nagamootoo in 2011 wanted to be Speaker, The AFC abandoned him and proposed Trotman. Now he wanted to be the Presidential candidate of the AFC. But they made him the runner-up. Nothing these people say suggests they can ever be trusted. They have moved from no chance to win an election to now becoming relics of the past – totally rejected by the people.

They voted with the PNC-led APNU almost 100% of the time in Parliament. In 2011, they concentrated almost exclusively in PPP strongholds and allowed APNU to stay unchallenged in their strongholds. Now everyone knows the truth – APNU and the AFC had a deal and developed a strategy for the AFC to focus their attention in the PPP strongholds. Now in APNU’s 2015 campaign they intend to use AFC leaders to represent APNU in the PPP stronghold.

Why such blatant lies to innocent people? Quite simply, it is because of the lure of power. Nagamootoo said to the PPP/C – President or nothing. Poor Ramjattan, he now has to deal with Nagamootoo’s ambition and hunger for power. Nagamootoo has no interest in Guyana and its people – he is just so engrossed in himself that he would betray anyone in order to get his hands on power. He is not driven to make Guyana better; he is driven by his lust for power and his lust for vengeance. The truth is had the AFC not agreed to the coalition, Nagamootoo would have made his own deal.

Anyone wonders why Nagamootoo and Ramjattan have been quiet throughout the Rodney COI? They used to be at one time loud in condemning the PNC for the assassination of Rodney and others. Now they have joined those with blood on their hands. As they bow to their new leader, would they ask him to go to the Rodney COI and tell them what he knows about the brutal murder of Walter Rodney? This is what happens with power-hungry people – they conveniently forget each other’s misdeeds.

Now the people who voted for them because they could never support the PNC know that they were deceived in 2011. They were always part of the PNC and they can no longer hide their stripes. They had to end up at home and home they are now. The sad truth is that they expected to take many others with them, through sinister and deceitful strategies. They are hopeful that they could fool the people that they did not sell out. But they not only sold out, they baptized themselves as loyal and faithful PNC accolades. The truth sets people free – the people the AFC deceived into supporting them have been liberated by the truth. The AFC, Nagamootoo and Ramjattan have become prisoners of their own deceit.

Dr. Leslie Ramsammy

February 17, 2015

NOTICE – MMA CONSERVANCY – SHORTAGE OF IRRIGATION SUPPLIES

NOTICE - MMA  CONSERVANCY – SHORTAGE OF IRRIGATION SUPPLIES

Agriculture Ministry launches two more rice varieties

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Agriculture Ministry launches two more rice varieties

 

In an effort to boost rice yields, thereby increasing its production in Guyana, the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), launched two new rice varieties: the GRDB 14; and the Maria’s Delight Aromatic. the event was held under the theme, “Enhancing Productivity through Research and Technology Transfer.”

When compared with GRDB 9 and 10, the GRDB 14 is a better option, in terms of production, since it generates high yields (as good as those of the GRDB 10. The aromatic rice is also high yielding, and has a robust plant type.

A semi commercial trial was done on a five-acre plot, to compare the GRDB 10 with the aromatic and the GRDB 14, and it was observed that the yields are very similar. Demonstration trial plots commenced in 2011 countrywide.

The two rice brands were developed locally, at the Burma Rice Research Station, Region Five.

Speaking at the launch today, at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC), Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Alli Baksh, highlighted the significance of this new development, noting that agriculture is the backbone of Guyana’s economy.

He said that while the revitalisation of this industry came with the return to government of  People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), the farmers  had  a very significant  role to play, and they (the farmers) must recognise the benefits that  are derived from this critical industry. “Today, rice farmers’ children are going overseas, on scholarships and studying and returning to contribute to the sector,” Baksh noted.2

The Guyana Rice Development Board’s, GRDB14

 

            Baksh also highlighted that while production is at its best, the question of storage poses a challenge, and he urged the farmers to add value to this commodity, and not just stick to the traditional way.

Under the management of the GRDB, which is responsible for the management of the rice industry, four high-yielding rice varieties had been  introduced over the past three years, namely, GRDB 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Dr. Mahindra Persaud, Chief Scientist, explained that about 20 trials were conducted to ensure that the GRDB 14 was better than the GRDB 10, which was the most productive yield thus far. It was concluded that the GRDB 14 has great potential, “as it has an excellent early vigour, and emerges well in four to six inches of water, high yielding (beyond 200 grains), tolerant to lodging, excellent plant type, and resistant to blast disease and good cooking quality.”

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                        Farmers gathered at the launch of the Ministry of Agriculture’s  new rice variety at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC)

 

He also said that the new variety was also used in several farmers’ plots, and touched as far as eight tons per hectares.

Persaud highlighted that while these new varieties are of good quality, there is much more to be done. He assured the farmers, that in a few years, the ministry will develop more new varieties, which will take them to a minimum nine tonnes per hectare.

As it relates to the Aromatic Rice, he said that this grain has been a very important objective in the rice industry, and is very crucial in terms of market. Persaud further explained that due to the demand and the high price of this produce worldwide, many programmes have been tried, by countries such as India and Pakistan, to develop the aromatic rice.

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                                                                                                                     Farmers examining the Aromatic rice

 

This aromatic variety is very difficult to breed, because one has to track the right set of genes, and have a good screening programme, since the aroma itself is influenced highly by the environment. But, Persaud pointed out,  Guyana was able to develop this variety and it is performing as well as the GRDB 14.

This grain is less vulnerable to attacks from pests and diseases and was produced with significant resistance level.

“Once we are able to market this produce, we can very well say that the future of the rice industry depends of two things:  the progress that we make in aromatic breeding… and how well we continue the programme; and secondly, how well we market it internationally,” Persaud emphasised.

The introduction of the new variety was welcomed by farmers present who alluded to the fact that while it has proven feasible with respect to lodging, it is also very high yielding and responds well to fertilizer, allowing farmers to benefit from 50 bags per acre.

A call was also made for more investment at the Institution in research development.

Procurement Notice- National Expert Consultant

 

Procurement Notice- National Expert Consultant – FINANCE-30.01.2015 (1)

SERVICE CONTRACT NOTICE – AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAIN FINANCE 30.01.2015 (2)

Ministry of Agriculture statement on Mr. Kenroy Joseph employment

The Ministry of Agriculture acknowledges that a Mr. Kenroy Joseph was
employed with the Ministry of Agriculture during the period January 3rd,
2012 to June 10th, 2014 when he resigned his position. Since his
resignation Mr. Joseph has not been authorized to provide protocol services
for the Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture or any other government
official.

  It was reported on page 3 of the January 31st 2015 edition of the Kaieteur
News:

“According to reports, Jones, former personal assistant to Junior
Agriculture Minister Ali Baksh, presented a forged document from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Airport Duty Office indicating that he
was carrying out protocol duties…”

  Please be advised that the Ministry of Agriculture has never had in its
employ any individual named Kenneth Jones. However, since January 3, 2012,
a personal assistant, Mr. Kenroy Joseph, was employed by the Ministry as a
personal assistant to Minister Ali Baksh. According to our records, Mr.
Joseph provided required notice and resigned his position on June 10, 2014.

President visits flood hit Essequibo coast, assures residents that relief is in sight

Flooding along parts of the Essequibo coast, prompted Head of State President Donald Ramotar to visit several hard hit communities. Accompanied by Regional officials including Chairman, Parmanand Persaud and Drainage and Irrigation officials, the president had a firsthand look at outfalls in the communities of Devonshire Castle, Hampton Court, Lima, Anna Regina, Three Friends, Richmond, Reliance and Henrietta.

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Region Two Chairman Parmanand Persaud and President Donald Ramotar speaking with National Drainage and Irrigation Authority Head, Lionel Wordsworth and other officials at the Lima Outfall on the Essequibo Coast

In addition to observing the measures being instituted to relieve the accumulation of water, the president was able to meet with residents many of whom voiced their concerns about the situation. President Ramotar instructed regional officials to keep him informed daily of the situation until it was rectified.

The fact that some seven inches of rainfall occurred along parts of the region, over the last two days exacerbated the situation, the president noted. “A lot of the problems have to do with the mud blocking up the outfalls, and constantly as you clear it the mud comes back in”.

Additional equipment is being put in place to remove the flood waters, he added, “We are sending in more dredges and more pumps so that we can have some relief from the situation as far as possible. The most important thing now is to try to get the water off the land”.

He assured residents that officials are doing their best to bring relief to their plight, and empathised with them during this difficult time.

Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth, said the heavy rains have resulted in flooding in agricultural and residential areas. A big effort now, he said, is to clear the outfalls and sluices to have effective gravity based drainage. “While that is happening, we also redeployed some pumps from the East Coast of Demerara and Georgetown to assist with the situation here”.

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President Donald Ramotar speaking with officials and residents at an Outfall on the Essequibo Coast

The NDIA head said that, in addition to the aforementioned measures, a second dredge will be put into operation this evening.

The situation, he admitted, is a very challenging one for his team. “The accumulation along the outfalls is very frequent so it requires a constant effort to keep them clear so that the gravity drainage could be effective. Unless we can overcome these challenges, problems like these can surface sometimes”.

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President Donald Ramotar with officials and residents at an Outfall on the Essequibo Coast

He added that 12 pumps are currently operating along the Essequibo coast, and two more will arrive from Georgetown and be pressed into service on Sunday.

Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister pleased with Hope Canal project – checks on JICA- funded irrigation projects

Guyana’s ability to implement adaptation measures to deal with climate change were applauded by Japan’s Vice Foreign Affairs Minister, Takashi Uto, who along with Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy and National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) Chief Executive Officer, Lionel Wordsworth visited the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) on January 9.

             The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the Guyana Conservancy Adaptation project which will aid in better management and operation of the conservancy, thus, tackling climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The project is being done in two phases. Under phase one, eight excavators and two pontoons were procured, while under phase two, US$3.8 million was provided for the rehabilitation of six structures within the EDWC, which includes, Sarah Johanna, Nancy, Annandale, Hope, Shanks and Maduni.

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Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy during a brief discussion with the Japanese Vice Foreign Minister, Takashi Uto and team during a visit to the Northern Relief Channel at the Hope Canal, East Coast Demerara

            These works will complement the Hope Canal project for which Government is investing some US$15M.

            According to Minister Ramsammy, the ministry is currently engaging in a maintenance programme within the conservancy. He said that the equipment which was procured are currently being used on safeguarding of the 45 – mile long dam and on the in-lets and out-lets within the conservancy canal.

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National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) Chief Executive Officer, Lionel Wordsworth explaining works ongoing at the Northern Relief Channel (Hope) east Coast Demerara, to Japan Foreign Affairs Vice Minister, Takashi UTO and team during a visit

The Minister explained that the conservancy is an important irrigation source for all the villages along the East Coast and East Bank. “This conservancy has never been in the condition it is in right now …it is well maintained and we are very proud of the works being done here with the support from the Japanese Government, the IDB and the World Bank,”

Minister Ramsammy further noted that under the Guyana Conservancy Adaptation project which is supported by the World Bank, four pump stations will be constructed along the East Coast this year.

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Works ongoing at the Northern Relief Channel  at the Hope Canal, East Coast Demerara

During a visit to the Northern Relief Channel (Hope channel), Minister Ramsammy explained that the doors of the head regulator (a sluice system that allows water from the conservancy to enter into the relief channel), are completed.

He said that the next step is to break the dam, which will be done in about two weeks. However, he said that currently, the dam is being strengthened at both ends. “We want to make sure that the water level in our conservancy doesn’t go below 53 GD which is our dead space, because if it does so, the dam integrity is affected, and we want to make sure that is doesn’t get above 57, because if it does, the dam will be compromised with overtopping,” he further noted.