$600,000 drainage study
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management will be embarking on a feasibility study and detail design for the River Plantation Drainage and Irrigation System.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick, the project is slated to begin in July this year, at an estimated cost of $600,000.
To this end, the Government has entered into a loan agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank for a sum of $500,000; while the remaining $100,000 will be funded by the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation.
Estwick stated that the purpose of the study was to “provide the BADMC with an economically, feasible solution which, once implemented, will provide an environment conducive to good agricultural practices and improve the general quality and quantity of water resources available for irrigation to the farmers”.
As part of Government’s plan to increase agricultural production on the island, approximately 525 acres were allocated for agricultural development at the River Plantation.
Prone to flooding
However, the area is prone to flooding, which has resulted in relatively high crop losses.
The feasibility study will seek to provide solutions that would allow farmers at the River Plantation access to water during the dry season and to reduce flooding during the rainy season. Tests are scheduled to be conducted during October 2013 and the months of April and May 2014, said to be respectively the wettest and driest months on the island.