As Guyana braces for heavy rainfall, Mustapha worries about late rice harvests

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Heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding is expected during the ongoing May/ June rainy season and though drainage works are ongoing, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has voiced concerns about late rice harvests.

The Agriculture Minister told reporters on Wednesday that about 199,000 acres of rice were sowed for the current crop but about 30,000 acres are yet to be harvested.

Since the rainy season has begun, however, he related that he had tasked the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) with working to ensure that the dams are in good condition.

This is key in preventing heavy rainfall from flooding the rice floods and damaging the crops. Last year, with the nationwide flooding experienced, rice farmers were among those who suffered immense losses.

“… farmers have to take advice too because some of them went to sow late last year and as a result of the late sowing, we are in the rainy period,” Mustapha, however, lamented.

Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha (Photo: News Room/April 6, 2022)

He emphasised, “We should have already harvested by now.”

On Wednesday, the Hydrometeorological Service of the Ministry of Agriculture predicted that there will be wet as usual to above normal rainfall conditions over most of Guyana for the months May to July 2022.

According to the seasonal forecast issued, rainfall amounts, and frequency are expected to increase as the season progresses.

And though the highest amount of rainfall can be expected in Regions Three, Seven, Eight and 10, all other regions can still expect higher than normal rainfall values.

Minister Mustapha told reporters that drainage pumps have been deployed in the most vulnerable areas and drainage works are ongoing across the country. Additionally, NDIA personnel are monitoring the situation 24 hours daily.

“We are prepared but we can’t say that we are avoiding flooding.

“We are working and we are trying as much as possible to mitigate flooding,” the minister said.

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