Heavy rains and rising floods have finally decimated every field of produce at the Poodai Lagoons in Penal, leaving thousands of dollars in losses.
Despite using pumps and mud banks to redirect the water, the floods came in with a gush on Sunday night exacerbated by torrential rains.
Over 60 farmers, who have been doing agriculture in the farming community, said they were disheartened that after two weekends of consecutive rainfall, the Government had done nothing to protect their crops.
Dhanpat Jagmohan said, “Since last week this rain falling. We pumping water for days. Just yesterday this land was good but today in the space of an hour, the whole land flood. We couldn’t save anything.”
Holding up vines of watermelon washed away by the floods, Jagmohan said he did not know how to begin to count his losses.
“Is everything we lose, the watermelon, ochro, body, pumpkin. We depend on agriculture for our livelihood. We have families and bills and loans. We don’t have a steady income,” Jagmohan said.
Another farmer, Jaimungal Jagmohan, said a team from the Ministry of Agriculture visited the flooded plains but said most of the farmers would not qualify for compensation.
“They told us that if we don’t have a farmers card and land with deed we cannot get anything. The majority of farmers here do not even have a farmers card. They don’t own the land. This is rebated land and many others are farming here with permission from their relatives,” Jagmohan said.
He explained that the farmers have been planting the plains for decades but it was the first time they ever saw so much rain in March.
“We normally clean this area in the wet season so that when the dry season comes, we will plant. March is usually the time we are about to reap but now the floods take everything,” he added.
Chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy said his teams have been assessing the area.
He called on the Government to engage in a comprehensive drainage programme in the South Oropouche River Basin.
Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan on Sunday said his team was supposed to submit a report to him about the flooding yesterday.
Efforts to contact him yesterday proved futile as calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.