Contingency measures must be taken
Guyana Chronicle
March 1, 2003

Related Links: Articles on food stuff
Letters Menu Archival Menu

THE extended dry spell currently being experienced in the country is beginning to take its toll, especially in the agriculture sector.

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy and the time has come now, before it is too late, to take steps that would avert any disaster in this sector.

We believe that contingency measures must be put in place before the situation takes on crisis proportions.

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) that was set up to monitor the El Nino drought situation and to visit and recommend help in affected areas should start sharpening its axe and stand at the ready for any eventuality.

We must not wait on the 11th hour before taking steps to avoid any disastrous situation which may arise because of the shortage of water.

We recall that during the El Nino drought several years ago, the CDC ferried tons of foodstuff, implements, seedlings and inflatable water containers to affected areas across the country

The CDC, in addition, used to hold weekly press briefings to bring Guyanese up to date on the El Nino phenomenon.

Guyana is blessed with water, but because of the long dry season, the commodity has to be conserved.

Homeowners and other users of water are obliged to use this commodity sparingly in order not to put too much strain on current sources of supply.

While it is harvesting time in the rice industry and farmers need dry fields for harvesting, in other areas of agriculture - sugar, cash crops, aquaculture, ground provision farming, among others - there is need for an adequate supply of water right through crop time, and prudent management must be exercised by those responsible in these areas of farming.

Many people view with some degree of concern, the low level of the Boerasirie Conservancy, which is the source of fresh water for the two West Demerara sugar estates at Wales and Uitvlugt.

Because of the precariously low level of water in the conservancy, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) has already deployed a large pump to push water from the Bonasika Creek to improve the level of the Boerasirie conservancy.

Scores of farming communities also on the West Demerara are also being severely affected.

If the dry spell continues for too long, cash crop farmers would be forced to hike prices for their crops which would also be in short supply.

Apart from the hike in prices, hundreds of hectares of land under cultivation may have to be abandoned, as was the case during the previous El Nino drought, when farmers especially on the coastland were severely affected.

We recall the losses farmers, especially from both Canal #1 and Canal #2, West Bank Demerara, suffered during that period when hectares of crops under cultivation were burnt because of the impact on the land.

Many are worried that if the current trend continues, hinterland areas will also be severely affected.

The Lamaha conservancy is also running low, and already residents in Georgetown and other areas, which receive water from this source, have been urged to exercise care in the use of water.

If it does not rain soon, many feel a crisis situation could develop and contingency measures have to be considered now as a matter of priority.

Site Meter