– 4500 acres of residential, agricultural lands to benefitTo further increase Guyana’s resilience to floods and droughts, a new pump station to the tune of $335 million was commissioned on Friday to serve both residential and agricultural lands from Providence to Little Diamond.In addition, 7526 persons in the catchment area and 69 registered farmers from the Mocha Cooperative will also benefit from improved drainage and irrigation.“The ultimate goal is to increase incomes and reduce unemployment by providing access to land for farming through the rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation systems and access dams and additionally, by providing the necessary support, such as extension services and planting material to ensure the success of farmers,” Agriculture Minister Noel Holder said.The project which focuses on the stimulation of agricultural activities for small-scale farmers is financed jointly by the Caricom Development Fund (CDF) and the Government of Guyana. The $2.592 billion grant project will come to an end in 2020.A section of the newly-commissioned pump station at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara“This structure (pump station and sluice) augments the drainage capacity for the area as the pre-existing single-door sluice was found to be inefficient to drain the area of approximately 18 km2. Therefore, it is expected that the incidences of flooding in the area will be significantly reduced with the operation of this new pump station,” Holder noted.The pump station catchment area is Herstelling, Providence, South, Barnwell, Junor, and Mocha Arcadia, which are primarily dependent on the cultivation of plantains, banana, ground provisions, citrus, mangoes and other cash crops, and the rearing of livestock such as cattle sheep and goats, pigs and poultry.Under the project, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), has constructed 7.52 km of new irrigation canals, excavated and rehabilitated 67.6km of irrigation channels and 70.6km of drainage channels. In addition, 32km of fair weather dams were also rehabilitated.According to the Minister, land clearing was also conducted with the aim of ensuring farmers return to their land.To date, 60 of the 265 registered farmers within the 4 catchment areas have received their Government grants which have seen approximately 50 acres of new lands under cultivation.The Agriculture Ministry’s Rural Agricultural Infrastructure Development Project (RAID) has been implementing drainage and irrigation interventions in the communities of Buxton, Mocha, Triumph, and Ithaca.Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, Caricom Development Fund, Rodinald Soomer in delivering remarks, noted that Guyana remains the most impressing performer with respect to completing projects on time and within budget in the CDF history.“To date, 88.3 per cent of funding for cycle two has been disbursed and Guyana continues to impress us (CDF),” Soomer said.Since 2014, the CDF has injected some $18.94 million for the project of the said magnitude in Guyana. Among the projects, several pump stations, sluice and primary and secondary drainage channels were completed.The Agriculture Ministry has commissioned five pump stations at Lusignan, Friendship/Vigilance, Enmore, Three Friends and Buxton in 2018. This is in keeping with its holistic approach to improve drainage and irrigation along flood-prone villages along the coast.