10,000 acres of rice under threat in Corentyne

first_imgRice farmers on the Corentyne, in Berbice, are in urgent need of water to save 10,000 acres of rice in the 52-74 Neighbourhood Democratic Council area. The regional administration’s irrigation pump has run out of fuel and the dam in now inaccessible to get fuel to the pumps.They are calling on the Water Users Association as the need for water grows by the day. Some farmers told this publication that they could lose up to 10 acres daily until water is pumped into the affected areas. However, the pumps are without fuel because of a new system implemented by the regional administration to get fuel to the pumps which are situated along the Canje River.Region Chairman David Armogan speaking on the matter said the decision to change the system did not come from the local regional administration.“The problem we have is that the boat which would normally take fuel into the Canje Creek area has to find additional money to operate. The management of the Berbice Bridge has told the owner of the boat that he has to provide marine insurance before he can cross the bridge. We all know that marine insurance is a very expensive insurance,” he pointed out.According to Armogan, the boat operator is being asked to pay $2 million for the marine insurance, and as such, the regional administration has been forced to engage a new contractor.According to Armogan, there is a truck system also which takes fuel to these pumps but because of the deplorable state of the dams – due to heavy rainfall – this process is hindered.At present, the dams are impassible. Chairman of the 52-74 water Users Association, Neezam Rajab, in an interview with Guyana Times said farmers are under a lot of pressure for their livelihood.“Right now about 10,000 acres is under threat, especially the young ones. I would say about two-thirds is under threat and we start losing already,” he told this publication.Rajab said the only answer at this time is for sunshine lasting for two successive days. With that the truck will be able to take fuel to the Manarabisi pump. Even that will be inadequate since that truck can only take in 2000 gallons at a time.And that amount of fuel will not last three days. The boat, which is being asked to have a marine insurance, had the capacity to take 22,000 gallons per trip but the owner said it is unprofitable to pay $2 million when he still has to pay to cross the Berbice Bridge to transport the fuel.The Regional Chairman said there are three options being explored, one of which is to approach the Berbice Bridge Company with a request for them to wave the insurance rule for that contractor.“If we can get the Bridge Company to relax that rule that they have put in place, then the contractor is willing to come as from Monday,” he said.“If the sun comes out and the weather conditions are good then we will continue to move the fuel overland and we don’t need to push the bridge company in that event.If the rain continues to fall, then we can explore the option of the barge and the big tanks… if the situation gets out of hand we might have to rent a barge and hire a few tanks and purchase the fuel from Guyoil and take it in. That will be far more expensive to do it that way but it might be our only option,” the Regional Chairman said. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more