Guyana braces for long El Nino spell  


By Jomo Paul

Minister Holder admires some of the products grown under the READ project
Minister Holder 

 [] – With the brunt of the current El Nino season hitting various regions of the country and the agriculture sector in particular,  the Government has moved to establish an El Nino Task Force.

Agriculture Minister Noel Holder at a press conference on Thursday revealed that preparations are being made by the different agricultural sub-sectorsectors to effectively deal with the drought-like conditions.

Holder said that Guyana’s irrigation and fresh water systems “might come under stress at the end of November so we really have to start practicing efficient water use.”

Sectoral representatives from the rice sector, Guyana Sugar Company, Guyana  Water Inc and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) were on hand to lay out some of the foreseeable challenges and planned counters.

NDIA acting CEO Frederick Henry stated that water levels are enough to sustain the different sectors until mid-December. 

Thereafter, if the condition persists, steps will have to be taken to pump water into the conservancies via the Canje River basin and other sources.

“We would not have any problems until the middle of December…we will resort to supplementing water into the conservancy,” said Henry.

clip_image006He said that at present levels, the water would usually be enough adding that this is not the first time El Nino has descended upon Guyana hence the NDIA is prepared.

“We have passed through this before, we will do some of the things we have done and this time we will try to do some of it possible,” he said.

According to Henry, some of the rice farming communities in Region Five and other parts of Berbice will be affected but will have other sources of water to use.

GRDB General Manager Nizam Hassan related that presently, the conditions are favourable to rice farmers, however when harvesting is over, the water woes will step in.

“We anticipate that in the Crabwood Creek area, we would have some problems and they would seek to get water from the Corentyne area…Black Bush Polder no problems…we are able to get fresh water from the upper reaches of the Berbice River…once we go into crop period then we estimate there would be some problems with the East Demerara water Conservancy.”

Similar conditions are expected for GuySuCo.

During the el nino period, there is expected to be a 50% decrease in rainfall with higher temperatures being experienced.

Already several hinterland communities are anticipating a decline in agricultural production with the possibility of food shortages being experienced as the dry spell persists.



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