Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud is urging all local government authorities and other stakeholders to expedite dam maintenance in rice growing regions to allow farmers to harvest during opportunity days.
According to a release, the Ministry of Agriculture, through the National Drain-age and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), has been providing support to a number of rice growing areas to facilitate harvesting. These works include mainly dam maintenance since rice farmers need improved access to transport paddy out of their fields. It is also an ongoing excise by the NDIA to ensure rice farmers harvest their crops during periods when the weather is ideal to avoid any undue hardships and loss of crop.
In Region Two, 80% of works have been carried out by the Drainage and Irrigation Department which is made up of the NDIA and the Regional Democratic Council, the release said. Works on dams have been carried out from Somerset and Berks to Spring Gardens while the Cozier area also received support. WUAs, the Charity /Zorg-en-Vlyght and Annandale /Good Hope have provided necessary support with regard to dam preparation through small contracts that were awarded to farmers, the release said. The NDIA excavator is also undertaking works at Cozier to assist farmers in some areas that still needs irrigation. Previously, works were carried out from Golden Fleece to Perth to ensure that there was drainage and adequate irrigation. Harvesting has commenced with farmers ob-taining good yields and profitable price, the ministry said.
In Region Three, access dams measuring 20,000 rods amounting to approximately $3 million would be executed by the Vreed-en-Hoop/La Jalousie WUA and is expected to commence shortly. NDIA’s bulldozer is currently doing dam maintenance works at Philadelphia after which it would go to Vergenoegen,
Two contracts have been awarded by the Regional Democratic Council in Region Four to commence dam maintenance works from Huntley to Mary’s Hope. The Cane Grove WUA has been providing support with the filing of holes on dams.
In Region Six, extensive works have been carried out in the Black Bush Polder area as the WUA has undertaken dam maintenance within the area. In addition, NDIA has put a new bulldozer to assist with maintenance in the area. This exercise is usually carried out before the harvesting period begins. In the 52-74 area, a $3.5 million contract has been awarded by the RDC to complete 26 access dams measuring 1500 to 1600 rods. NDIA’s equipment has carried out works at Numbers 57, 59, 67 and 68 villages. Harvest-ing has begun.
Meanwhile, the ministry said it will provide the necessary support to rice farmers during the harvesting period, as this year the rice industry is set to record its largest crop in rice history. In addition, the NDIA will continue to work with all Regional and Neigh-bourhood Democratic Coun-cils (NDCs) to ensure its dam maintenance programme is expedited to satisfy farmers’ needs.