Another Gov’t promise fulfilled to Buxton/Friendship
- phase2 of $82M D&I rehabilitation project launched
Georgetown, GINA, September 10, 2011
As part of the efforts to foster the expansion of agriculture in Guyana, Government continues to invest in the necessary infrastructure to sustain increased agricultural production.
Another facet of this reality was today furthered when Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud sealed yet another contract in the presence of hundreds of Buxtonians for the second phase of a drainage and irrigation project.
The second phase will see the continuation of construction, rehabilitation and restoration of drainage and irrigation structures in the Buxton/Friendship areas.
In excess of $82 M will be spent on infrastructural development of which $78M will be allocated for the construction of the main drainage sluic.
He said that a considerable amount of work was done to restore the drainage system in the backlands of the Buxton/Friendship areas to allow the free flow of water during the rainy season.
This phase, he said will be focusing on the discharge of water in the front lands “because we have some limitation in moving water from the pump basin quickly, to make residential and farming areas less vulnerable to flooding”.
Minister Persaud informed residents that the initiative is a direct result of President Bharrat Jagdeo’s promise to residents during an outreach to the community to redesign and reconstruct the main drainage sluice in the community.
“What we are seeking to do is correct the neglect and poor decision making in the past...the existing structure would have been closed in the 1970s which contributed to the decline of agricultural activities in the Buxton/Friendship communities,” Minister Persaud said.
This programme, Minister Persaud said is in keeping with Government’s thrust of restoring agricultural glory to Buxton.
He said that work is also being done at Golden Grove, Victoria, Belfield and Cane Grove to bring back some level of productive and food security.
This opportunity, he said is also giving farmers an opening to tap into the global market since the price for food is rising.
Minister Persaud while encouraging farmers to expand their agricultural ventures spoke about the effects of Climate change, which are reversing the capacity of many countries to produce food.
He told residents and farmers that the world’s population is expected to grow significantly, and that food production will have to be doubled to meet demands, and hence countries like Guyana will be looked upon to respond to those demands.
“The global population is close to seven billion and by 2050 it is expected to hit 9.5 billion and from all indications we have to double our capacity to produce food, but also dealing with more pressing problems including the global economic meltdown and the disruption of trading patterns,” Minister Persaud informed.
In outlining the vulnerability of low-lying areas he said that Government has been investing huge sums, putting in place interventions to safeguard citizens’ livelihood.
Value added products
“We don’t only want farmers in the Buxton/Friendship areas to just be the producer of raw products…. the advent of hydropower in the near future will allow us to convert our crops into food right here in the communities,” Minister informed.
The project, he said is giving farmers the capacity to develop long-term agri industries whether it is livestock or crops.
Highlighting some of the measures to increase food production, Minister Persaud said that more new lands are being put back into cultivation.
Modernizing the industry
Minister Persaud also used the opportunity to inform residents and farmers about the Government’s ICT thrust, through the One Laptop Per Family Programme, that will help farmers to access information and make market linkages.
“So when these other infrastructure, as part of the modernizing process of our country come on stream we don’t want the people of Buxton/Friendship and other communities to be left out….we want every single community to have access and to play a part in moving development forward,” Minister Persaud said.
Phase one –Drainage and Irrigation project
Minister Persaud informed residents that close to $120 M was spent on rehabilitation works from 2009 to 2010 and “there is much more that we have to do”.
He also updated residents and farmers on the land clearing programme that was undertaken by the Ministry to assist farmers in returning to production.
Minister Persaud urged residents and farmers to be the eyes and ears of their community and to play an integral role in overseeing the execution of the project.
The contract was award to Colin Talbot contracting services.
Recently the Ministry of Agriculture under it Agriculture Support Services Programme (ASSP) rehabilitated and constructed 360 drainage infrastructure and 136 kilometers of access roads at : Golden Grove/ Victoria, Vergenoegen/Bonasika, Vreed-en-Hoop/La Jalousie, Canals Polder, Crabwood Creek and East Bank to tune of $2.2B.