Gov’t to repair small machines, develop lands for Pomeroon farmers
Farmers from the Pomeroon, Region Two will receive assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture with an estimated $15 million project set to rehabilitate small machinery and develop farmlands.
This commitment by the Ministry was made on Tuesday when subject Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and President Dr. Irfaan Ali visited the area and engaged farmers.
Minister Mustapha on Wednesday told the News Room that the visit was prompted by flooding in Region Two but it allowed the President an opportunity to observe the challenges farmers face.
Dr. Ali committed to the aforementioned assistance which will commence following a second visit by Minister Mustapha on Friday.
“There is a group there [at Pomeroon] which has two small machines which we will rehabilitate for them and they will use it also to help farmers to raise the level of their bed,” Mustapha said.
He explained that the National Irrigation and Drainage Authority (NDIA) will oversee this project with some $15 million set aside for the project.
The minister related that programmes will be developed following his visit on Friday to discuss the way forward. This will be to assist farmers who own lands that are five to 10 acres in dimension.
He said, “I will be returning back on Friday to meet with farmers and I will be doing a programme to see how we could help in relation to the small farmers and we will do a programme to help develop their plots so we can avoid the flooding.”
These newer projects will add to several ongoing ones that the NDIA has embarked on across the country. Specific to Region Two, a new pump station is being constructed at Plantation Andrews. This will significantly improve drainage for some 8,000 acres of rice lands on the Essequibo Coast. The $532 million contract for the project was awarded to H Nauth and Sons in September last year.
Additionally, the numerous measures to prevent flooding and other challenges these farmers are burdened with includes the purchase of a pontoon, ongoing block drainage, provision of excavators and dredging of the Pomeroon River.
“When that [dredging] is done, I think the flooding in the area will minimize a lot because you will have proper draft, so to speak, in the Pomeroon River,” the minister said.
Dredging of the Pomeroon River which will improve economic activity and provide better drainage is an ongoing project which commenced midyear to the tune of $569 million.