Gov’t to commence preliminary work ahead of construction of multi-door sluice in Reg. 6

construction of pump stations at Adventure, BBP to commence this year
min. Mustapha underscores the need for strengthening country’s drainage capacity

Farmers from East Berbice–Corentyne (Region Six) will soon benefit from massive agricultural development and opportunities as the government gears up to commence its 2022 work programme.

Last Thursday, the government passed a $552.9 billion, making way for a number of transformative initiatives, with the agriculture sector benefiting from a $28.7 billion allocation.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha.

Today, while meeting with farmers from Bushlot Village, Central Corentyne, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha disclosed that the government will, this year, embark on a series of large and transformative projects aimed at furthering the government’s developmental agenda for the sector.

Minister Mustapha informed farmers that, as part of the government’s 2022 work programme, extensive work will be done to strengthen the country’s drainage capacity.

Minister Mustapha and other officials engaging farmers during the meeting at Bushlot.

“Since the PPP/C Government resumed office in 2020, we’ve seen the allocation to the agriculture sector increase tremendously. In 2020, $18.6 billion was allocated as part of our Emergency Budget. In 2021, that was increased to $24.8 billion. This year we have $28.7 billion for the sector. As a government, we recognize the importance of the sector. We’ll be expending $13 billion to strengthen our drainage and irrigation systems across the country. Through the NDIA, we will be procuring 34 new pumps to ensure we work towards having an effective drainage system. Two new pump stations will be constructed on the Corentyne Coast, one will be constructed at Adventure and the other will be constructed at Black Bush Polder,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister Mustapha also told the farmers that this year, works are scheduled to commence making way for the construction of a multi-door sluice similar to the structure located at the Hope Canal in Region Four.

A farmer raising an issue at the meeting.

“During the last flood, the most affected community in the region was Black Bush Polder. There were many open lands where water was allowed to lodge. The Cookrite Savannah is a basin that normally discharges water through the cultivation and the housing area in Black Bush Polder. The established canals could not drain the land effectively and in a timely manner which resulted in severe flooding in that area. We recognize the need to have such a large structure built in the region. We are working aggressively to get that project up and running. We’ve already started with the consultancy aspect of the project to identify the best area for the structure and the NDIA has also engaged farmers and other stakeholders, so rest assured, that project will commence this year. A similar structure will also be done in Region Five around the Danzig area and Region Three at Hope,” the minister added.

Acknowledging that the government cannot prevent flooding due to Guyana’s geographical location and the impacts of climate change, Minister Mustapha assured farmers that the government will continue to put mitigating measures in place to not only reduce instances of flooding but to improve the country’s drainage capabilities.

The agriculture minister also used the meeting as an opportunity to listen to farmers’ issues. Those present shared similar concerns and sought the minister’s urgent intervention.

One farmer from the area told the minister and his team that there were several canals in the area that need maintenance works. These canals, he noted, were blocked with vegetation and required digging and routine maintenance.

A section of the farmers who attended the meeting.

Another farmer said he was still being affected by flooding in the Cookrite Savannahs. He also told the minister that he needed assistance with fencings and developing his land to better tend to his cattle.

A farmer from Black Bush Polder who attended the meeting also said that a machine was needed in the area to carry out constant upgrades to dams.

Another farmer also informed the minister that saltwater intrusion has been affecting farmers in the Number 35 Village.

Minister Mustapha committed to having those issues resolved. He informed the farmers that machines will be made available in the coming weeks to address those issues. While responding to the farmer who is being affected by the intrusion of saltwater into his rice field, Minister Mustapha said that he was made aware of the issue earlier in the day and that a pump will be made to drain the land the next day (Sunday). He also told the farmers that the ministry will try to assist those who suffered losses with seed paddy through the GRDB.

A machine will also be made available to assist farmers in the Cookrite Savannah.