Top planners agree to coordinate national drainage, irrigation
Guyana Chronicle
November 15, 2002

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TOP level planners from several Regions and agencies have agreed to coordinate on a national strategy for drainage and irrigation (D&I).

Agreement was reached after Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Navin Chandarpal convened a meeting recently and implored them to work assiduously towards that goal.

Highlighting the need for preparation of the 2003 budget in an integrated fashion to truly reflect D&I requirements, he urged the establishment of a working team for the purpose and stressed that supervision and oversight of works should be given high priority and timely maintenance regarded with utmost and critical importance.

In attendance at the caucus were Regional Chairmen and officers from Regions Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands), Four (Demerara/Mahaica), Five (Mahaica/Berbice), Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) and Ten (Upper Demerara/Berbice).

Officials of Ministries of Local Government and Finance and Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) also participated, as well as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chairman and staff of the National D&I Board and the Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Agriculture.

The Government Information Agency (GINA) said Minister Chandarpal noted the import of coordinating activities at the central, regional and local levels, to ensure proper functioning of the D&I system.

He explained that the success of such collaboration is a prerequisite for improving productivity in the agriculture sector, especially in the cultivation of rice, sugar cane and other crops.

GINA said various issues which pointed to specific project procurement were drawn to the attention of Minister Chandarpal by the Regional Administrators and he instructed the CEO of the D&I Board to follow up on all of the matters raised.

In addition, all the Regions represented acknowledged that an integrated national D&I programme, with regular follow-up action as outlined by the Minister, is integral to the sustainability of the network.

GINA said presentations from the Regions were extremely constructive and reflected a deep commitment to ensure that the system functions effectively.

Recommendations were made for the current rates and taxes to be reviewed to guarantee effective collection and utilisation and, to this end, the experience of GUYSUCO on its estates was considered.

As a result, a visit to a GUYSUCO estate has been arranged for officials to have a first hand look and gain insight into how the sugar industry manages its water control.

Meanwhile, those who met with Minister Chandarpal emphasised the need to carefully manage and protect existing resources and use mechanical pumps efficiently.

GINA said the meeting concluded with a plea for farmers to adhere to planting schedules and be more involved in water management in their respective areas.

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