Emergency works ordered to assist flood-affected Mahaicony rice farmers

Farmers in Mahaicony River, Region Five stands to lose millions of dollars in rice cultivation to flooding. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture will be conducting emergency works at this weekend to repair dams and clear clogged drains.

According to at statement from the Ministry on Friday, Minister Zulfikar Mustapha met with the rice farmers who noted that heavy rainfall over the past few weeks have left some dams impassable which is affecting their ability to harvest their crop.

“We have 100 acres of rice that is ready to be reaped but the access dam is not finished as yet for the truck and the combine to come in and cut the rice. A GRDB staff is here. They can tell you when the (GRDB) 12 paddy is ready to reap. It is 125 days right now,” Deowan Kumar, a farmer said.

Another rice farmer, Ethan Bowen of Strat Campbell, Mahaicony River, said that due to road works in the area, rice farmers are finding it difficult to access their fields.

“We have a farm to market road and the street has asphalt and after that, we have the dam. The contractor came to do the street. He excavated the street. The rains came and now we cannot get access to the rice field so we stand to lose rice there,” Mr. Bowen was quoted saying, adding that the works started three weeks ago.

Chatram Deoraj, 68, of Mahaicony River said that his field was currently under water and sought assistance from the Minister with providing an excavator to clear the drainage channel for his field to be drained. The farmer said that he has already lost some of his cultivation due to flooding and has been using a pump to assist with drainage.

After listening to farmers’ issues, Minister Mustapha said a team from the GRDB and NDIA will be in the area over the weekend to conduct an assessment of the works needed.

“We have two excavators in the area. I just spoke to my two technical officers to assess the amount of work needed in the area and we’ll put another one or two machines here to complete the works. These works should be completed within a week,” he assured.

The subject Minister also urged the farmers to be more responsible in their use of the structures during the rainy season.

“We will continue to work with you to see how best we can assist farmers to get their paddy out and minimize losses,” the Minister was quoted saying.

He also told farmers that the MMA and the NDIA would be examining the use of those machines in the area to ensure downtime is minimized, and that a technical team from the Ministry will be returning to the area by next Tuesday to meet with residents.