BBP farmers bemoans losses as non-working pump finally replaced after days of flooding

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Harrynarine Brigelall pointing to his farm which is under water

By Andrew Carmichael 

Five days after the cultivation area and some sections of the homesteads at Lesbeholden in the Black Bush Polder, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), had been under flood waters, authorities have finally installed a pump to replace the non-functional equipment at Adventure on the Corentyne.

However, the drainage process is still slow, as both rice and cash crops are being affected.

The pump has been installed at Adventure, Corentyne, and will assist with the drainage of the entire Lesbeholden at Black Bush Polder.

The mobile pump which was put into operation at Adventure on Saturday

Notwithstanding that, residents and farmers say the intervention is much too late as they are already suffering losses.

Heavy rainfall over the Independence weekend and into the new week left sections of the farming community inundated.

Cash crop farmers say they have experienced more rainfall in a shorter period of time and it did not impact their crops this severely.

Desilting of Adventure outfall channel

The outfall channel from Adventure to the Atlantic Ocean has been blocked for several months. Authorities had been waiting on the rainfall to commence the desilting exercise. However, when it started to rain, there was still not enough water in the system to flush the outfall channel.

The Independence weekend rainfall left more water in the system than it could have handled. Silt levels in the outfall channel made it impossible to drain water by gravity flow.

Compounding the situation, the pump at Adventure was out of operation and by the time the mobile pump was installed on Saturday, many of the farmers were already suffering.

Apart from that, sections of the residential area were also inundated.

A farmer showing what has become of the young rice plants as a result of the excessive water on the land

Khemraj Deonarine of Lesbeholden South there was water in the lower part of his home for two days.

“It had about four inches of water but Kevin bring a pump and pump out the water; he is a good neighbour,” the elderly man who lives alone with his wife told this publication.

Others are not that fortunate with rice farmers feeling the brunt of it. Many of them recently sowed paddy for the autumn crop. The young rice plants cannot survive in the high levels of water that currently exist and are dying.

Rice farmers told this publication that they have been pumping water but as they do this, more water is entering the rice fields. They say because the outfall channel is blocked, the water remains in the community and just goes around in circles.

Bearing pepper plants have died

However, with the mobile pump put into use on Saturday, water levels are dropping but very slowly. This, cash crop farmers say, is likely to worsen an already bad situation.

One cash crop farmer, Harrynarine Bridgelall, explained that he cultivates one acre with leafy vegetables and peppers.

“They all duck,” he said referring to the level of water on his farm.

This farmer’s pepper trees are bearing but cannot withstand the prolonged period of being immersed in water. His entire crop has been destroyed and for him it is big losses because the current price for peppers is very encouraging for farmers.

Another cash crop farmer, Jairam Ramlakan, who had to walk through two feet of water to get to his farm described the situation as being very bad.

Bora vines dying

“I get bora and pepper and the water raise very high and duck them. I lost about 500 root of bora and 400 root pepper.”

He said it had been four days since his crop was under water.

“The rain fall and the water raise. It is the drainage man; the drainage they ent get right,” he added explaining that the drainage system needs to be addressed.

The canal which drains the community takes the water to Adventure.

Baigans (eggplant) still on the plants wilting

Meanwhile, the desilting of the outfall channel at Adventure continues.

Lesbeholden is one of four polders that make up Black Bush. The polders of Mibicuri, Johanna and Yakasari are also experiencing water levels which id negatively impacting crops.