The Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA) is condemning the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) for what it said was a “600 per cent” increase in land rent and other charges to farmers.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MMA/ADA Dr ken Sealey, as well as Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had said in the media that the yearly lands rates currently being paid by farmers would be increased in order for the MMA/ADA to provide the quality of services required.
“There has been no attempt to keep the rates of land rent and the cost of drainage and irrigation or the pay for the cost of drainage and irrigation in line with inflation. The result of that is where MMA used to be a source of income to the government, it’s now taking money out of the government to survive; $ 237M out of the budget for this year. We have to look at raising rates to the proper levels,” Holder had said.
Below is RPA’s full statement:
The Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms, the unilateral draconian increase in land rent and other charges to farmers by the MMA/ADA. The increase in some of these charges is in excess of 600% and is being implemented at a time when farmers are getting low prices for their produce.
Rice farmers in the project area proper are now being commanded to pay $15,000 per acre, an unbearable increase from $3,500 just last year for land rent and drainage and irrigation charges.
Cattle and other crops farmers are not spared the wrath of this uncaring Authority and their rent and services charges have also been increased by more than 100% in many instances.
The RPA is calling on all farmers to resist this draconian increase and show solidarity with all as we join in the call for the reversal of this decision which was taken without any consultation with farmers, their association or any other stakeholders.
The fact that the Minister of Agriculture is equating these increases to “three beers” per day is insulting and demeaning to our farming population and we call on the Minister to apologise to our farmers for his behavior.
Let us all join in condemning this most recent attack on our people by an uncaring government.
RPA General Secretary
Saturday, January 14, 2017