Consistent heavy rainfall in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) has left several rice fields along the Essequibo Coast overflowing with water and currently rice farmers have to incur additional expenses to pump the excess water from their fields.
Rice farmers are however hoping that Government, as well as regional officials are paying keen attention to and examining the struggles they are faced within the industry.
Farmers, particularly from Hampton Court, Golden Fleece, Perseverance, Good Hope, Suddie, Johanna Celia, Windsor Castle, Devonshire Castle, Lima, Coffee Grove and Riverstown, are affected by the high accumulation of water. Currently, rice farmers from these communities have been forced to pump water at the cost of $5000 per hour and this has been going on for close to one week.
“This is our livelihood we have to continue to fight for it, we have to survive, we fear we lose our crop so we have to do all we can to ensure we save our crop so we can sustain our families,” one rice farmer from Hampton Court related.
In light of the farmers spending additional money on their rice crop, many of them are calling on Central Government to intervene and assist them with fertiliser or even fuel to save the industry. Rice farmers are therefore calling on the major rice stakeholders – the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA) – to represent their interest and lobby with Central Government for necessary assistance. When asked if they are receiving field visits from any of these stakeholders, many farmers said not on a regular basis.
“How long we don’t call them they don’t show up, rice farmers are struggling in this country alone and we feed the world,” a farmer related.
Farmers at Golden Fleece are calling on the Region Two Administration to send an excavator to assist in the cleaning of the canal. According to them, an excavator is already in the area but needs an operator. Currently over 3000 acres of young rice plants are under water.
Most of the rice plants were battered by heavy rainfall, resulting in fields being flooded, compounded with overflowing canals and trenches. Rice farmers are questioning what the regional officials were doing during the dry season and what preparations were made to accommodate the rainy season.
Many of the access dams leading to rice cultivated areas are reportedly in deplorable conditions.