Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Wednesday told residents from Whim, Auchlyne, Lancaster, Letter Kenny, Alness, and Bloomfield villages they will soon benefit from improved drainage in both the residential and farming communities, aimed at minimising flooding.
Some $42 million will be expended to complete the drainage works in the residential area while an additional $35 million will be expended to clear drainage canals and rehabilitate dams within the farming areas. The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will be in charge of the works.
“For this area, Whim/Bloomfield, we know for a fact; when you look at all the villages in this area, this is the most flood-prone area. Over the years, we’ve seen what happens when the rain falls. This is one of the areas that suffer from flooding very fast. We’ve reviewed our resources, and within two months, we’ll have a fixed pump dedicated to Whim. In the communities, when you go around the areas like Whim, Auchlyne, Lancaster, Letter Kenny, Alness, and Bloomfield; almost all of the internal drains are blocked. We’ve reviewed it and decided to get a contractor to do the internal drains. If bridges are blocking the drains, we’ll have to remove them because we have to get these works done,” the minister said.
The Associated Construction, a Berbice-based company, has been contracted to do the work which was scheduled to start on Thursday.
While discussing works planned for the farming areas, the minister sought to assure farmers works would begin shortly to desilt the drainage canals within the cultivation areas.
“We know there are a number of canals that have been cleaned already. So, from Alness to Whim, /Bloomfield, we’ll clean all the canals in the cultivation so that the farmers can benefit. When that project is completed, we’ll have an ongoing maintenance programme. Those works will be given to persons living in the community. You have to form yourselves into groups so that you can benefit from those work,” the minister said.
Cattle farmers were told they will benefit from the government’s assistance and that works have been and will continue to be done to improve the existing infrastructure in areas like PMU, and the Cookrite Savannah.
Single-parent households from the Alness/Whim/Bloomfield area were given a commitment from the minister they will each receive 25 Black Giant chicks to assist with poultry rearing activities in the area. Farmers were also told they will soon benefit from improved extension services.
“I’ve been saying this across the country, but from next year, our extension staff will be given additional training to better address the needs of the farmers. In addition to this, they will have to provide a weekly report detailing their extension activities within the various communities across this country,” he added.
Mustapha was accompanied by Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat, regional officials and senior officers from the ministry.