Pearl farmer plagued with flooding caused by poorly-maintained trenches

A section of Khemraj Puran's flooded farm at Pearl, EBD

By Amar Persaud

Khemraj Puran, a 48-year-old farmer of Pearl, East Bank Demerara (EBD) has suffered major losses due flooding in his area that is caused by improper drainage and maintenance of trenches.

The Hydrometeorological Service had issued an extreme rainfall advisory on Wednesday, after they received reports from a number of its rainfall stations across the country.

The rainfall which began on said day led to the flooding of Puran’s farm located about 3 quarters of a mile behind the man’s Lot 18 Pearl North, EBD home.

Flooded were three acres of the man’s crops which included plantain, coconut, cassava, pepper, and fruits and vegetables totaling around $600,000 in damages.

Puran noted that this is not the first he has faced major damages due the flooding of his farm.

He explained that the area where is currently farming was bought by his parents in early 1980, which later took over after father passed away.

Since taking over according to Puran, whenever it rains, he experiences flooding; when heavy rainfall occurs flood waters can reach 2 ft in height.

“My father and mother buy the land since in the early 80’s.”

“Since I completed secondary, I took up the farming.”

“I had 3 shade houses at the back there and every time you plant it the rain and it flood everything.”

“You how much time I report to the NDC and all that they say they gone look into it.

“I keep reporting it for couple well year now,” the man stated.

Puran said that he even complained to the Ministry of Agriculture at one time in 2018, and they had sent an excavator to clean the trenches that were clogged that led to the flooding.

“I went into Ministry Agriculture 2 time in 2018. In 2017, 2018 a Hy-Mac was to going and dig and the place did soft, but then he cross and dig a piece by me pond, but that can’t take out all the water because the main drainage canal totally blocked.”

Since then, the farmer explained the no attempts were made again clean the said trenches.

“I does take people how I get money lil bit, lil bit to clean deh, right where the trench block off.”

“Manually I trying to clean the trench hoping the trench gone deepen but everything breaching inside the whole place, even from the conservancy the water coming in.”

Puran explained that he is not asking for any flood relief or any financial just for the trenches in the area that drains water off the land to be cleaned and maintained.

“Me really asking for flood relief and all them thing, all that I asking for is drainage.”

“If we could get a Machine and dig back these things [Trenches] them proppa me don’t mind maintaining it because I know the drainage is important,’ he added.

Meanwhile, efforts to contact areas Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) have proven futile.