Residents and farmers from several villages on the Corentyne Coast, Region Six (East Berbice – Corentyne) will soon benefit from improved drainage in both the residential and farming communities.
On Wednesday, Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha travelled to the region to meet with residents from Whim, Auchlyne, Lancaster, Letter Kenny, Alness, and Bloomfield villages to discuss some of the upcoming works aimed at minimising flooding in the villages.
While engaging those who attended the meeting, Minister Mustapha said that after assessing the area, it was decided that the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will take charge of having the works done.
He further stated that some $42 million will be expended to complete the drainage works in the residential area while an additional $35 million will be expended to clear drainage canals and rehabilitate dams within the farming areas.
“For this area, Whim/Bloomfield, we know for a fact; when you look at all the villages in this area, this is the most flood-prone area. Over the years, we’ve seen what happens when the rain falls. This is one of the areas that suffer from flooding very fast. We’ve reviewed our resources, and within two months, we’ll have a fixed pump dedicated to Whim. In the communities, when you go around the areas like Whim, Auchlyne, Lancaster, Letter Kenny, Alness, and Bloomfield; almost all of the internal drains are blocked. We’ve reviewed it and decided to get a contractor to do the internal drains. If bridges are blocking the drains, we’ll have to remove them because we have to get these works done,” Minister Mustapha said.
The minister noted that Associated Construction, a Berbice-based company, will be carrying out the works which are expected to commence on Thursday. He also said that the contractor has been asked to have machines working simultaneously in the villages so that the work can be completed as soon as possible and called on residents to help with monitoring the works.
While discussing works planned for the farming areas, Minister Mustapha assured farmers that works would soon commence to desilt the drainage canals within the cultivation areas.
“We know there are a number of canals that have been cleaned already. So, from Alness to Whim, /Bloomfield, we’ll clean all the canals in the cultivation so that the farmers can benefit. When that project is completed, we’ll have an ongoing maintenance programme. Those works will be given to persons living in the community. You have to form yourselves into groups so that you can benefit from those work,” the minister said.
Minister Mustapha also noted that cattle farmers will benefit from the government’s assistance and that works have been and will continue to be done to improve the existing infrastructure in areas like PMU, and the Cookrite Savannah.
He also said that single-parent households from the Alness/Whim/Bloomfield area will each receive 25 Black Giant chicks to assist with poultry rearing activities in the area.
Minister Mustapha disclosed that farmers will soon benefit from improved extension services.
“I’ve been saying this across the country, but from next year, our extension staff will be given additional training to better address the needs of the farmers. In addition to this, they will have to provide a weekly report detailing their extension activities within the various communities across this country,” he added.
Minister Mustapha was accompanied by Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat and other regional officials and senior officers from the ministry.