Region 2 rice farmers battling paddy bugs

Rice farmers in Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam) are battling a disturbing infestation of paddy bugs. The insects are said to be between the “flowering” plants, and farmers say it is quiet irregular for bugs to invade the rice plants at such an early stage.

Several farmers in Region Two have reported that the bugs are visible on the plants. “The bugs (are) just all over the young plants…when you walk to your lands, there are many bugs,” one farmer has disclosed.

Farmers continue to spray and conduct demonstrations, especially in the evenings, when the bugs are believed to be more prevalent, but they are contending that the continuous spraying of their crops is causing their budget to be extra burdened.

One Golden Fleece farmer explained that the rice crop is in the bearing stage, and harvesting will commence in a month’s time. He explained that because the bugs are sucking the young rice seeds, this harvest could very well result into a low yield. Asked if there are regular field visits from staff of the Guyana Rice Development Board, farmers replied, “Seldom”. They are therefore calling on GRDB field staff to be more visible in Region 2, offering their expertise by demonstrating ways of combating the paddy bugs.

Rice farmers are also calling on the Agriculture Ministry to provide assistance in the form of pesticides.

Region Two has approximately 35,000 acres under rice cultivation, and almost every farmer in that region has been affected by the dreaded paddy bug. Rice farmers are therefore calling on the relevant authorities to assist them, whether technically or by providing pesticide.  (Indrawattie Natram)