For the first time in many years, residents of Region 5 were able to survive the second rainy season of 2017 without being affected by flooding due as a result of swift interventions by the Board and Management of the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA).
The authority, in conjunction with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), in the lead-up to the rainy season commenced critical drainage and irrigation works within the catchment areas. Among the works undertaken, the region benefited from the rehabilitation of three sluices and cleared several rods of D&I canals.
Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder lauded the move by the authority in ensuing that measures are in place to safeguard farmers’ livelihood. He added that the decision was taken in wake of the scheduled rains, which annually would see farmers counting their losses.
“It is no secret that many areas in Region 5 suffer greatly during the rainy season. This time around we were able to rehabilitate three critical sluices that were inoperable for over 30 years. Although heavy rainfall did result in some accumulation of water, for the first time we were able to avoid a major flood.” Holder said.
The rehabilitated sluices, which are located at No. 12 Village, Golden Grove/Lovely Lass and Trafalgar, were done at a cost of $30M and saw over 200 farming households directly benefiting from the intervention.
General Manager of the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA), Mr. Aubrey Charles in a telephone interview stated that the work of the authority will continue, with the aim of ensuring that no flooding is recorded in the near future.
To this end, a MMA/ADA will be starting construction shortly for a new sluice in the MMA block (D’Edward Sluice). The structure, once completed, will further aid flood relief efforts in the region and is set to positively impact over 5000 persons in both residential and farming areas.
The General Manager also spoke of the works being undertaken to have MMA-phase 2 completed. He added that once all is in place farmers can benefit from additional prime agricultural lands to expand their cultivation.
However, for this to be a success, Charles is calling on farmers to pay all outstanding leases owed to the Authority to ensure that monies are available to offset expenses for the expansion.
“We have seen an increase in production and productivity and this will increase significantly with the completion on MMA-Phase 2. There are some farmers who have been aiding the call from the MMA to pay outstanding monies owned to the Authority, but there is a fraction who the MMA has had to issue letters to.” the General Manger said.
According to the General Manager, the Authority will no longer be benefiting from subsidies from the Government’s coffers, and as such, is required to be self-sufficient in order to provide the much needed services.
In the earlier parts of 2017, during the May-June rainy season, many areas in the region experienced excessive rainfall which resulted in extreme flooding. The MMA-ADA and NDIA as a result deployed of mobile pumps at the Trafalgar Sluice and Bush Lot Village, four excavators were also moved to the flooded areas while four tractor pumps were mobilized to drain flood waters from residential areas of Golden Grove and south Trafalgar.