– slams reckless spending, misuse of rice farmers money by current Administrators of the industry
General Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers Association Mr Dharamkumar Seeraj has slammed what he called “the reckless spending and misuse of rice farmers money by the current Administrators of the industry”.
He noted that only recently, nearly $150 million dollars of farmers hard-earn money were taken by the APNU/AFC government and given to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) to experiment with rice cultivation.
Now, he has received an “elaborate invitation” from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for ‘An Evening of Rice’, a ‘Cocktail & Exhibition, celebrating the versatility of rice”.
Seeraj, in a statement to the media, said he is strongly of the view that “this Cocktail and Exhibition provide another opportunity for bureaucrats to rub shoulders and enjoy drinks at farmers’ expense”.
Following is the full text of a missive to the media penned by Dharamkumar Seeraj:
On November 15, 2016, I received an elaborate invitation from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for ”Án Evening of Rice”, a “Cocktail & Exhibition, celebrating the versatility of rice”. One wonders whose idea it was for such an event. Did the Board of Directors approve this event and if yes, was there any consultation with the industry stakeholders? What is the cost of this elaborate event?
The location of this event at Umana Yana in downtown Georgetown can be considered a very poor choice of venue to facilitate meaningful participation of industry’s stakeholders’. I assume that farmers and millers were invited and if they were how many of them would be able to attend this event in the evening at 18:30hrs, travelling long distances and leaving their homes unprotected in these troubling times of high crime?
The industry is currently experiencing severe difficulties; significant drop in production, reduce in cultivation of acreage; farmers are getting almost 40% less than they use to get; many of them have abandoned their lands and a few have committed suicide out of the frustration of increasing debt burden.
In these difficult times when livelihoods are seriously threatened, the GRDB is organising a “Cocktail”, and to talk about what?
It seems as though there is no end to the reckless spending and misuse of rice farmers money by the current Administrators of the industry. Only recently, nearly $150 million dollars of farmers hard-earn money were taken by the APNU/AFC government and given to GUYSUCO to experiment with rice cultivation.
This Cocktail and Exhibition provide another opportunity for bureaucrats to rub shoulders and enjoy drinks at farmers’ expense.
Surely, the GRDB could have come up with a better idea of “celebrating the versatility of rice”. What about a workshop in a farming community?; what about a scientific conference engaging scientist at the Burma Rice Research Station or elsewhere involving farmers and millers?; I am certain that any such event as proposed would have given the farmers and millers better value for their money. Then again, what can you expect, this is the same government that promised $9000 dollar a bag for paddy and has delivered 40% less than what farmers were originally getting.