I commend our nation’s rice farmers

Dear Editor,
I’ve been following very closely reports in sections of the media about the successes of our farmers for the first rice crop of 2021. This crop, formally known as the spring crop, usually sets the tone for rice production figures for the year. A successful first crop puts you in a better position to have commendable production figures at the end of the year.
I am a cash crop farmer from Region 6, but I have many friends who plant rice. They all tell me that with the interest I have in rice, I should venture into rice production, but I enjoy what I do.

For this crop, all of my friends have completed reaping and enjoyed favourable yields.
They average between 50 and 54 bags per acre. At the end of every crop, I would usually engage them about their overall experience, and what they think could’ve been done to improve their activities.
Generally, their experiences were similar. What stood out this time around was the fact that they all said more engagement was had between themselves and the extension officers attached to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Guyana Rice Development Board. They all expressed that the extension officers were more available this time around.
The reason for this, in my opinion, is the no-nonsense approach taken by Agriculture Minister Mustapha and his insisting that extension officers needed to up their game, so to speak. However, whatever the reason may be, I’d like to commend those extension officers for their hard work and increased efforts during the crop.
My friends also said they could see more effort was being put into preparing and maintaining dams by the NDIA and the Regional offices. This reminded me of when the Government took office and millions of dollars were spent almost immediately to take care of dams, so that rice farmers could transport their paddy. Although some of those dams are once again in a terrible state due to the rains, I want to commend those who worked to have those dams repaired in time for harvesting.
The leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture must also be commended. During the first Farmer’s Field Day for the year, which was hosted by the GRDB, a charge was made for extension officers to work with low-yielding farmers to improve their cultivation. Many low-yielding farmers would’ve benefited from that exercise.
A great deal of advice was given, and I hope that farmers had been able to apply what was taught, in order to improve their current cultivation. It seems as though those in charge are working to address low yields from the source.
In conclusion, I want to encourage our nation’s farmers to continue with their valiant efforts. I also want to encourage the Government to continue supporting our farmers. I see a great deal of support is being given, and I urge those responsible for guiding the sector to continue to invest the necessary resources, so that our yields can continue to increase with every crop. Kudos!

Yours truly,
Bisnauth Rampersaud