Over 100 Coverden farmers benefitting from improved drainage

Over 100 small cash crop farmers and 20 large scale farms in Coverden are benefitting from a drainage intervention by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The intervention was made possible through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) in the community of 650 residents situated on the East Bank of Demerara.

Local Beverage from Cherry Tree Farm, Coverden

According to the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) of Soesdyke Te Huis Te Coverden, Bhupendra Dookie, residents of Coverden reached out to the NDC for assistance with the drainage issues that have been affecting their livelihoods.

The Chairman said the NDC then wrote on behalf of the residents to the Agriculture Ministry for assistance.

“The Ministry of Agriculture responded in the shortest possible time with a long boom excavator which has been working in the community for over a month. They will be clearing five main drainage canals that leads to the outfalls. That is approximately 1800-2000 rods of drainage will be done, which include the Alliance/Cherry tree farm, Lane, Clarke, and Garbarran trenches,” the Chairman noted.

Large scale farmer and owner of Cherry Tree Farm, Kevin Joseph spoke with the Department of Public Information (DPI) about how his farm is benefitting from the  intervention.

Kevin Joseph, Farmer, Coverden

 Joseph said, “the NDIA sent an excavator in here about roughly a week and a half and it is very critical, in fact it’s good that it has come, we were having a lot of problems with drainage, we weren’t getting the cherry trees to bear properly, to respond properly, some other small cash crops, passion fruit, peppers and so we weren’t able to utilised the land properly because of the drainage problems.”

Another cash crop farmer Marlin Thomas was equally vocal about the response from government.

“Me along with my uncle and my dad William Thomas, he works at the backdam – along and with my brother and cousin, which is the Thomas; [generational land owners] we went to the village office and spoke with Mr. David Loncke, [NDC Councillor] they make sure that we keep instilling that we need to get this done, so along with that and the NDC, we working right now, I am happy yes, and I am working in the farm also…” she explained.

Marlin Thomas, Cash crop Farmer, Coverden

Meanwhile, NDC Councillor David Loncke said he must give credit to Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy for making representation for the residents at the level of the government.

The NDC councillor, said that after sharing the residents’ concerns with Minister McCoy, the minister conducted a walkabout to assess the situation.

“The minister saw our constraints and he had made a promise to liaise with his ministerial colleague to address the situation with an intervention. We also shared that our village is one of the closest farming villages coming from the airport and we would like our farming to contribute to the government food security agenda. I must say that one of our famers has been blessed with a wonderful shade house, which is doing very well, and I am so excited as a re-immigrant that I have been sharing with all my family abroad, who are excited to return and see the transformation for themselves,” he related.

Drainage intervention in Coverden

This intervention and many others form part of the administration’s efforts to ensure a food secure nation that can contribute to reducing the region’s food import bill.

Guyana is one of only three countries in the region that produces over 50 per cent of its food.