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Design of Hope-like canal for Region 3 almost complete– Min. Mustapha

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-Canal No. 1 pump station to be completed by the end of July

During a community engagement in Bagotville on the West Bank of Demerara on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister. Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha disclosed that the design for the massive Hope-like Canal being constructed in Region Three will be completed soon.

The Minister was at a community meeting with residents and farmers who raised issues during a recent public engagement with Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.

While speaking about some of the planned interventions to improve the region’s drainage and irrigation system, Minister Mustapha said the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) is working to have the design completed so that construction can commence.

“We are also doing mega projects to improve the country’s drainage capacity. We have the Hope Canal on the East Coast of Demerara. That canal is what prevented flooding in Georgetown and on the East Coast of Demerara. We will be building similar structures in Regions Three, Five, and Six. Those canals will be high-level canals that can operate when the tide is up. Rather than having to channel flood waters through the system in the housing areas, we will be able to drain the water from the backlands directly into the river. That project will commence shortly. The design is being finalized and soon after that the work will commence. As it relates to the Canal No. One Pump Station, that project is expected to be completed by the end of July so that your community can benefit from improved drainage,” Minister Mustapha explained.

While responding to requests for updates on the Canal No. 1 Pump Station, Minister Mustapha disclosed that the pump station is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Minister Mustapha also told those present that while the government continues to make funding available to support development, residents still have the responsibility of paying their rates and taxes.

“Some of the issues raised could’ve been dealt with before we came here. You have to work with your NDC and the regional bodies. They have funding to do some of these works in the region. The NDC has a subvention to do these works. Also, some residents are guilty of not paying their rates and taxes. We cannot continue to work like that because when we look at the collection of rates and taxes, it is very low. It is less than 40 percent but yet, people want development. Over the years the government has been increasing subventions to the NDCs but residents still need to pay their rates and taxes,” he added.

Minister Mustapha also told farmers that the ministry will request approval for funding in the 2025 budget to rehabilitate the farm-to-market access road in the area.

He also told farmers that investments are being made to ensure adequate planting materials are made available to farmers across the country and that the ministry through the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will work with them to make farming inputs and implements available.

“There is an ongoing transformation taking place in our country, and I encourage you all to work with us. Through NAREI, we’ll provide the necessary planting materials and we’ll also work to ensure you have the necessary tools to expand your production. The demand for planting materials is very high. We have eleven nurseries across this country but they cannot satisfy the demands because more people are coming into the sector. So, we are building a tissue culture laboratory that will have the capacity to produce millions of planting materials annually,” the minister added.

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, other technical officers from the Ministries of Agriculture and Public Works along with regional officials were also present at the meeting.

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