Farmers urged to prepare for May-June rainy season – Hydromet Office

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
A farmer sowing paddy as the 2023 spring crop began

Farmers and residents are advised to make the necessary provisions as major flooding in several parts of the country is predicted during the May-June rainy season.

This was according to Chief Hydrometeorological Officer (CHO) Dr Garvin Cummings during an interview with this publication. As a result, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (NMHS) is advising farmers countrywide to harvest drought-tolerant crops as early as possible.

Farmers are also being urged to clear drains and other waterways to assist in flood mitigation.

“Because we are expecting the normal May/June rain, for example rice farmers should get their crops out of the ground within the next three to four weeks’ maximum. We urge them to have their drains cleaned and have the right infrastructural upgrades on their lands so that their livestock can be protected.”

Further, citizens are asked to exercise caution on the roadways during the rainy season, wear rain gear and make necessary infrastructural upgrades as well.

Meanwhile, the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) said that it is well prepared to assist farmers who may be affected by flooding during the rainy season.

Back in April 2023, prolonged heavy rainfall resulted in flooding in Georgetown and across several coastal regions especially in low-lying areas. Flooding was also recorded in several regions with more conditions in Regions Seven, Ten and Six.

Following the devastation caused by the flooding, the Agriculture Ministry awarded several contracts for the construction of several pump stations across the country. These areas include Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara; Pouderoyen Area, West Bank Demerara and Jimbo, Grove on the East Bank Demerara.

Additionally, the construction of a sluice and pump station will also be erected at Belle Vue, WBD at a cost of almost $1 billion.This year, a whopping $97.6 billion was budgeted to advance and catalyse agricultural development through the promotion of investments in large-scale cultivation; promoting increased aquaculture and shrimp farming; modernising, upgrading and strengthening drainage and irrigation and farm-to-market infrastructure and support services.

Nevertheless, NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jagnarine Singh stated that farming communities have suffered major losses coming out of the dry season, and as a result, fertilizer, seedlings and other agricultural inputs will be made available to them.

He explained that in the meantime, the institution is encouraging farmers to find innovative ways to cultivate and care for their crops.

“We have to emphasise the use of smart agriculture… So, we recommend that farmers look at shade houses, raising beds and other normal things that they can do. But we are prepared to assist the farming community, that’s our role and since the year started, we have money in our budget to do those things,” Singh said.

Farmers urged to prepare for MayIn taking the first step in promoting smart agriculture, the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) recently acquired its first state-of-the-art greenhouse.

This greenhouse is compiled with various technologies, such as hydroponics and aquaculture facilities from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and UNDP Resident Representative Gerardo Noto made it clear that the various technologies would help Guyana to respond to climate change with a high focus on agriculture students.