MMA rice farmers call for dams to be fixed before harvest


By: Andrew Carmichael

With less than one week before farmers in the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) Scheme start harvesting their rice, concern is being raised over the state of access of dams in the scheme.

According to one farmer, there is only one tractor in the community big enough the drive through the access road without being stuck.

Most of the small farmers have machines, which they refer to as 290 and 185 tractors.
None of those can make it through the MMA access dam. According to the farmers, it is not the entire dam which is in a bad shape.

They pointed out five sections of which it impossible for them to pass over the access road. In some of those areas, the dam has deteriorated to the extent that it is now lower than the water level in the adjacent canal.

Vickram Ramphal

“I don’t see farmers in my area, who are basically small farmers, getting into those areas to spray for paddy bugs, fertilise their crop and basic crop husbandry,” one farmer related.

Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal blamed the MMA for the situation, saying that the agency has been paying little or no attention to what has been happening there.

“Farmers are finding it very difficult to transport their produce in and out. Also, many of them will have to visit their fields frequently because of the heavy infestation of paddy bugs. I spoke to a number of small farmers who would have raised concerns about them not having access to their fields because of the deplorable state of the Main Canal Dam,” Ramphal noted.

Jamal Azees has 30 acres of rice cultivation, and for him, it is a nightmare getting to his cultivation.

“The dam is in a terrible state. Bad! This is the access dam next to the canal. It should be an all-weather road. It is just like the canal right now. You have to go into the canal to pass some places. You have to stop half-way and walk the rest. My field is about four miles from here; it took me about two and a half hours to reach here and I’m only halfway,” he said.

However, the MMA said it is cash strapped, but Ramphal, who is a member of the MMA Board, disagrees.

“There are funds that can do some of these works,” he stated.