Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy and a team comprising D&I technical officers and a group of West Bank farmers visited the backdam at Canal Number One to investigate claims that drainage structures built to regulate the flow of water were actually impeding it.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture, the structures were built between canal polders one and two under the Canals Polder Control Structures and Access Roads Programme – an infrastructural development component of the Agricultural Export Diversification Programme – financed by the Inter-American Development Bank. According to a press release, 80% of the Canals Polder Control Structures and Access Roads Programme has been completed.
In order to investigate the claims, Ramsammy and his team travelled by tractor to the backlands of Region Three. The team was told that the structures were guilt to specifications. However, Ramsammy said there needs to be more effective supervision of the works being done. He also opined that the control structures being built represent a significant improvement over what existed previously but agreed with the technical staff that adjustments are necessary to optimize the benefits for farmers. Accordingly, the release said, he then instructed the head of the Drainage and Irrigation unit to ensure that the adjustments were made.
Farmers were thankful for the minister’s speedy response to their complaint lodged on Tuesday. Farmers had said that a blocked canal was preventing them from cultivating more than 1,000 acres of rice aback Nismes, West Bank Demerara.