By Staff writer

Farmers from Victoria Village, a farming community located on the East Coast of Demerara, will soon benefit from a number of much-needed drainage works following years of neglect and underdevelopment.

During a meeting this week, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha told farmers that most of their drainage woes will soon be behind them in the coming week as emergency works will commence within the next three to five days.

Farmers from the community turned up in their numbers to meet the minister, airing their dissatisfaction with the lack of proper drainage thus resulting in their farms being completely inundated when there are instances of persistent rainfall.

One farmer explained that due to the heavy vegetation in the trenches, many farms are constantly underwater. Similarly, another farmer told the minister that the main relief channel in the area, which also drains three other neighbouring villages, is blocked and needs to be cleared.

Aside from drainage, farmers also said that there was a need for a ranger to manage the crown dam. One farmer related that in the past, a ranger would monitor the condition of the dam and provide a report to the relevant authorities.

In addition to drainage issues, the visibly frustrated residents expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the village’s Neighbourhood Democratic Council. They told the minister that despite making numerous requests for upgrades to their roads and cleaning of their parapets the NDC continues to ignore their requests.

While addressing the farmers’ concerns, Minister Mustapha said that emergency drainage works will commence in the coming days. He added that as the rainy season is expected to last another two months, works have to be prioritized to minimize flooding in the community.

In addition to the emergency drainage works announced, Minister Mustapha also told residents that officers from the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will also be conducting a needs assessment to determine how many farmers suffered losses, after which, the ministry will be able to make available planting materials and fertilizers so that farmers can return to the land as soon as possible. Furthermore, farmers who lost livestock were also assured that, following a similar assessment, the ministry will work to offer assistance to farmers who suffered losses.

After the meeting, Minister Mustapha walked with farmers to get a first-hand look at the devastation caused by the flooding as well as the state of the roads. Residents took the opportunity to express satisfaction with the Minister’s visit and his willingness to visit several of the affected farms and homes.

Furthermore, Minister Mustapha also told farmers that come 2022, farmers can look forward to more developmental works in the village. He also said that he will engage the Ministers of Public Works to visit the area to address issues with the roadways in the village.


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