Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) rice farmers are worried that they are in more financial trouble as hundreds of acres of seed paddy from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) are not germinating.
This was revealed on Wednesday during a site visit by Regional Chairman Davanand Ramdatt and the media where farmers complained that hundreds of acres of rice fields along the Essequibo Coast, sown with the GRDB 10 seed paddy are not germinating. The farmers said those who sowed the GRDB 10 have started replanting their fields using different varieties of seedlings, which is an additional cost to them. According to several farmers who were present during the site visit, the entire Region Two rice industry is in trouble since farmers are not being treated equally and millers are taking advantage of their situation.
One farmer complained that millers in some cases are holding on the payments for very long periods without considering any interest.
Farmers also complained that they are losing confidence in the GRDB, noting that that the field officers are not doing their jobs by visiting the farmers and monitoring the industry. According to farmers, since the new Government took office and removed the subvention from Rice Producers Association (RPA), the GRDB is the only body left to monitor the rice industry and give technical support.
During the last crop, over 1000 acres of paddy was set on fire due to blast and paddy bugs cauing some farmers to lose the entire crop.
Region Two is an agricultural area and residents are heavily depended on the rice industry for survival. Ramdatt during the visit said the Government must stop playing politics and seriously look into the industry before it’s too late.