$260M sluice commissioned at Capoey, to enhance drainage and irrigation

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Residents of Capoey and other neighboring villages on the Essequibo Coast will now benefit from improved drainage and irrigation following the commissioning of a new sluice.

Approximately $260 million was expended to construct the sluice which will benefit some 60 farmers and over 1,000 acres of farm and residential land.

During the commissioning exercise, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha said the sluice will assist farmers and residents with much-needed drainage during the rainy season.

“This structure will assist you with better drainage so your crops and communities will not be flooded. We’ve seen increased acreage under cultivation, especially in rice. For the last crop, farmers were affected by El Nino. Although irrigation water was limited, farmers from this region were able to cultivate approximately 32,000 acres of rice; the largest amount in recent years. I am hoping that for this crop, we can increase that to 34,000 acres. When farmers produce the country benefits because we will have more to export. I was looking at the export figures and last year Guyana produced 653,000 tonnes of rice. In 2022, we produced 620,000 tonnes. This year, we are projected to produce 710,000 tonnes. For the first crop, we’ve already produced approximately 347,000. So, we are on track to surpass the target,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and other regional and Ministry of Agriculture representatives and farmers during the commissioning of the sluice

Minister Mustapha also said that the ministry is working to develop additional high-yielding disease-resistant varieties of paddy to assist farmers in increasing their production.

A resident and representative from the Queenstown Development Association who was present at the activity said that the structure would bring great relief to areas that are easily flooded during the rainy season.

“On behalf of the Queenstown Development Association and the people of Queenstown, we are very thankful to the government for making this sluice a reality. Over the past nine or ten years, representation has been made for a new structure after the other one had collapsed and every time the rain smiled, Queenstown would flood. Several regional chairmen went into my house on more than two occasions with long boots after rainfall. I can tell you now that, no matter how the rain falls, we won’t have any problem. So, I want to say thank you,” he explained.

Areas such as Capoey, Little Alliance, Westfield, Mocha, Dagaraad, and the immediate front lands at Queenstown are expected to benefit from this intervention.

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