Mahaicony rice farmers will soon benefit from access to irrigation water

Rice farmers and residents of Mahaicony River and surrounding areas in Region Five who are experiencing water woes will soon have an adequate supply of irrigation water as mechanisms will be implemented.

This was highlighted at a farmers’ meeting spearheaded by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha at Green Mill, Mahaicony Branch Road, Region Five, on Saturday. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

During the meeting, farmers expressed concerns about the Mahaicony River’s saline water intrusion, freshwater availability and excavation works to be done.

The minister pointed out that the government is working hard to make sure that procedures are in place to deliver irrigation water because the extended dry period is expected to last until the first quarter of 2024.

A section of the farmers’ meeting

Minister Mustapha said the farmers would be provided with immense relief in response to their concerns guaranteeing their continuous output.

He also added, “I want to see all the lands under cultivation, especially in our rice sector… Within three days, you will get the water… Two pumps are there already… We have to monitor it. The main thing is that the creeks are running salt. We will look at that. We will put all systems in place to get it done.”

Farmers and residents at the meeting

According to Minister Mustapha, the ministry will look at several possibilities to determine how to modify the system so that rice farmers have access to irrigation water.

“For the right bank people, we will try to get one [bowser] from GuySuCo that will designate this over so you can get water constantly… until we get the system cleared back. We will look to see where we can modify them,” the agriculture minister committed to the farmers.

To keep an eye on the river’s salinity levels, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) was assigned to conduct four salinity tests every day.

Farmers and residents at the meeting

Minister Mustapha also suggested that a rotation system can also be implemented to ensure all the farmers are provided with irrigation. In addition, the situation with the farmers will be constantly monitored by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), GRDB, and the Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary (MMA).

In a few weeks, Minister Mustapha and his technical team will return to the area to make sure the systems installed are operating well and giving the farmers access to enough water. 

He reiterated that Regions Five and Six are slated for the construction of massive Hope-like canals.

Minister Mustapha said that some 40,000 acres of rice are being cultivated in the Mahaicony area.

To date, approximately 190,000 acres of land have been prepared across the country for rice cultivation.

Additionally, some farmers, who requested excavation works to be conducted, were informed that a machine would be made available on Monday.

The minister was joined by the Chairman of NDIA, Lionel Wordsworth, CEO of Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Dr Dwight Walrond, Regional Chairman, Vickchand Ramphal, other heads of agencies and representatives of GRDB and MMA.