Berbice small rice farmers experiencing difficulties in replanting
Paddy bud infestation
Small rice farmers in Berbice are experiencing difficulties in replanting their crop and many are still hoping Government will step in and assist, following the widespread devastation as a result of a paddy bug infestation during the last crop.
Some farmers have prepared the land while others have already sowed paddy for the crop. However, they do not have the necessary funding to see them through the crop. Speaking with Guyana Times on the issue, Region Six Chairman David Armogan noted that several rice farmers have contacted him explaining that they need assistance.
“In meeting with these farmers I get the impression that many of them do not have the finance at this point in time to get back into this crop and so they were hoping that the Government would intervene to give them some kind of incentive or to assist them in some kind of way with seed paddy or the possibility of fertiliser or some other form of help so they could get back into the crop,” the Chairman said.
Many farmers have been forced to dump their paddy since mills will not accept it. The paddy was rejected by mills because more than 35 per cent of it was damaged. In addition to the loss as a result of the paddy bug infestation, many farmers were faced with additional expenses for the current crop after having to pump water into their rice fields. The prolonged dry spell coupled with difficulties encountered by the regional administration caused some rice farmers to pump water as many as seven times during the crop as compared with three times on an average per crop. The region was expected to produce an estimated two million bags of paddy his crop. However, Rice Producers Association (RPA) Extension Officer, Ramlakhan Singh said only three quarters of that figure was realised. Armogan explained that although the yield had looked promising and most farmers reaped between 30 and 35 bags per acre, it did not have the weight as expected. “When they took it to the mills, the weight was significantly less than what they use to get before and they get paid by weight so a lot of them would have lost large sums of money and are finding it very difficult to get back into the crop,” Armogan explained.
The Chairman said the regional administration is hoping Government will see the necessity to assist the struggling rice farmers. Following the poor quality of rice produced, and the scarcity of seed paddy, farmers told Guyana Times that the cost for seed paddy had increased. Although the crop has already started, the majority of farmers have stopped at the perpetration stage.
“If they can assist them with seed paddy and some amount of fertilizer, I think they will be ready to go. These farmers only know to make a living by planting rice. So if they don’t do that, you could imagine what will happen to them and their families,” the Chairman noted.