Several agencies attached to the Ministry of Agriculture signed 32 contracts totalling some $2,121,486,609 for the construction and rehabilitation of several pump stations and drainage structures, the procurement of critical machinery, and the maintenance of several canals across the country.
Of the 32 contracts signed, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) signed a $544,890,203 contract with Adamantium Holdings for the construction of a pump station at Charity, Region Two (Pomeroon Supenaam).
This structure is expected to provide flood control for approximately 400 families and farmers by draining more than 200 acres of farmland for the cultivation of cash crops.
Thr NDIA also signed a $261,080,869 contract with the same contractor for the rehabilitation of a pump station at Cozier on the Essequibo Coast. Presently, there is only one pump in operation at the pump station.
This project, therefore, caters to the rehabilitation of the existing structure and installation of an additional pump that suffered damages some years ago. Upon completion, some 500 acres of cash crop and in excess of 2,500 acres of rice farmers and residents in the area will benefit from improved drainage.
Works on the construction of the farm-to-market road on the right bank of the Mahaicony Creek is also expected to commence this year with the signing of a $307,155,890 contract with Well Built Construction Services.
This will see the construction of 4.5 km of road which will provide improved access to over 15,000 acres of farmland to rice farmers and residents in Esau, Jacoba, and Mora Point. Upon completion of this project, farmers traversing this road will benefit from a reduction in transport cost, thus lowering their cost of production.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said that there is a direct link between the completion of these projects and the livelihoods of not only farmers but residents in these communities.
“Last year we were able to achieve over 94% of our work programme and that shows the kind of we have been pushing this work programme. In the Ministry of Agriculture, we also have very critical programmes that people depend on.
“So when our agencies execute a programme, there are a number of people that will benefit and depend on these programmes for their livelihood. For example, the D&I system; in the country, we know for a fact that not only farmers depend on the D&I system, but residents too. So when there is heavy rainfall people call on the Ministry of Agriculture through the NDIA.
“When there is a drought people call on the Ministry of Agriculture because they need irrigation. So you can see the linkage that we have in terms of the importance of the sector.
“So I want to ask you here this afternoon, that like last year, let us continue to execute our work and on a timely basis. Let us continue to ensure that the work is being executed in a way that we satisfy this specification,” the minister said.
Contracts were also signed for the construction of drainage structures in Vriesland, West Bank Demerara (Region Three); the rehabilitation of secondary channels in Number 50-52 Acre Dairy Plots in Region; the supply and delivery of agro-processing equipment for the New Guyana Marketing Corporation’s (New GMC) Parika packaging facility, and the supply and delivery of laboratory equipment and six new ATV for the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI). (Modified press release from Ministry of Agriculture).