The Ministry of Agriculture is advising rice farmers to await the next rainy season to sow their fields, in light of the fact that there is not enough water at the moment.
Subject Minister Noel Holder reiterated this advice as he spoke with the press at the Ministry of the Presidency, yesterday. He noted that given the current weather pattern, “If you haven’t planted already, don’t plant now because you wouldn’t get enough water, and we are trying to have enough water to save the crop that is already planted”.
It was explained that what has been already planted varies from region to region. The Minister said that in Region Two, over 60 percent has been planted, and in Regions Five, and Six, about 90 percent in each.
“What we don’t want is that extra 10 percent to be planted because there is no water,” he explained.
Once the current crops continue as scheduled, then harvesting will be done in March or April, and lands will then be prepared to take advantage of the May/ June rains.
The challenge in the future, for the rice crop, according to Minister Holder, is whether the anticipated rains are late. He said, “If they come later, you can expect some ramifications for harvesting.”
The Agriculture Ministry is working with other agencies such as the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to monitor the areas hardest hit by the current dry weather conditions. Interventions will be made where needed, Minister Holder stated.
CDC’s Director General, Colonel (retired) Chabilall Ramsarup, rates the current El Nino situation 8 out of 10 as such residents are urged to conserve water.
At present, all the conservancies are below full supply which means there is no natural flow of water. This situation has resulted in water being pumped from the conservancy into the farm lands.