Region three farmers getting support during dry season


Farmers from the West Bank Demerara, Region Three are getting much needed support to maintain their agricultural yields during the prolonged dry season.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali  Sunday morning visited the communities of Canal No 1 and Canal No 2 , where he observed the ongoing efforts to deliver water to the canals for irrigation.

President Ali also walked along the Conservancy Dam at Canal No.2, West Bank Demerara

He noted that the extended drought-like weather pattern has caused the water levels of the conservancy dam and canals to dwindle significantly.

As a result, some 30 pumps are being utilised to supplement the reduced surface water sources.

“If we were not pumping water into the conservancy, it would have been dead now, and we would have had no water to service the farmers. So, what we are doing now is pumping water into the conservancy, and then pumping water from the conservancy into the nearby canal and other canals in the region,” President Ali said.

“This is the situation across the country. We are talking about more than 20 million gallons of water being pumped. We have two pumps supplying the conservancy and this one supplying the canal,” the president added.

He emphasised the complexity of the operation and the massive investment that it entails.

“We want farmers to know that we understand the challenge, and we are putting all the infrastructure in place. Of course, we did not anticipate such a long dry season, and the magnitude… so, it is a very costly exercise, but a necessary one,” President Ali underscored.

It is important to note that the government’s long-term plan for drainage and irrigation involves the construction of a Hope-like canal in the region, which the president explained would provide additional storage capacity.

President Ali also walked along the Conservancy Dam at Canal No.2, West Bank Demerara

The Hope Canal, located at Hope/Dochfour, East Coast Demerara, is a multi-part channel with an eight-door sluice that drains excess water from the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) into the Atlantic Ocean to prevent flooding.

Replicas are also slated to be constructed in Regions Five and Six.

The president was also accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, who explained that this is a countrywide effort to implement effective water management system to mitigate the effects of the dry weather.

“In all the regions, we are putting systems in place to address the problems that farmers are facing,” Minister Mustapha said.

Meanwhile, Regional Chairman, Sheik Ayube,  disclosed that farmers are benefitting from regular excavation services to prepare for and better manage the impact of future rainfall once the dry period ends.

This process enhances the drainage system around agricultural lands, preventing waterlogging.

“We are looking at both the drainage and irrigation sides,” the chairman noted.

One of the pumps being used to supply water to the canal

National Drainage and Irrigation Authority’s (NDIA) Regional Engineer, Lall Piterahdaue, also explained that efforts to promote continued production are reaping results.

“We have been installing pumps as required, at different locations, so that it can help provide the necessary water to carry the farming, especially for the rice farmers. So far, we can say that we were successful, mostly to ensure that everybody brings through their crop. What our focus is right now is to ensure that the cash crops have enough supplies so they can continue their livelihood,” he noted.

President Ali also walked the length of the conservancy dam at Canal No 2, where he engaged with residents who expressed concerns about drainage, and accessibility.

The president made it clear that while it would not be feasible to construct a road on the Conservancy Dam, a walkway can be built to improve accessibility.

He also encouraged the residents to discuss among themselves the proposed solutions to arrive at a consensus on the way forward. [DPI]

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