Several rice lands within the Sparta and Hampton Court areas on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) are inundated and rice farmers are becoming frustrated over the situation.
Farmers reported the issue to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) prompting a field visit. During the visit lead by Chairman of the RDC, Devanand Ramdatt and other senior officials to the cultivated lands, sluices and pumps within the affected area, farmers expressed dissatisfaction over poor drainage.
Some 300 acres of rice was recently sown and are now inundated. Farmers, engineers, drainage and irrigation staff, along with representatives of the Water Users Association (WUA) were present during the field interaction. Drainage in the area is affected since one of the sluices at Hampton Court has to be repaired. Another issue which has compounded the situation is the lack of fuel to facilitate the pumps working longer hours.
According to the Regional Chairman, the RDC will examine all possible options to make adequate use of resources available to implement both recommendations along with the regular clearing of the outfalls as short-term solutions. This, he said, will assist farmers in the short-term until a more lasting solution can be effected.
The farmers were assured that monitoring and reporting systems will be intensified by the RDC Works and Agriculture Committee since residential areas between Sparta to Hampton Court are usually affected by frequent floods as well. Field outreaches to other areas in the region will be conducted in the new week.
The Regional Chairman indicated that he will communicate his findings to the Agriculture Ministry and the Guyana Rice Development Board while support from National Drainage and Irrigation Authority will be sought. He said the RDC is keen on seeking Government’s intervention in addressing these challenges at the earliest, in an effort to support farmers who deserve better since they are already struggling due to poor paddy price in recent years.
Several affected farmers are seeking support from Government to assist them with fuel for pumping water off their fields which is very costly. They lamented that field extension staff do not visit them during their periods of suffering. Farmers said they were faced with similar challenges during the last crop and no meaningful follow-ups were done to assist the them.
One farmer from Sparta village, Jai Singh, said his land has been under water for over two weeks and he is worried about his crop. He also spoke about duck weed infestation, adding that farmers are not knowledgeable on how to control same. (Indrawattie Natram)