Berbice farmers battling paddy bug infestation

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Rice farmers in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) are likely to earn less from their yields this crop. This is as a result of the prediction that the quality of rice produced is likely to be poor as a result of a paddy bug infestation.
There are 58,000 acres under rice cultivation in the region and the only areas spared are the East Bank along with East and West Canje, leaving 95 per cent of the production area exposed to the insects.
The bugs damage rice by sucking out the contents of developing grains from pre-flowering spikelets to soft dough stage, therefore causing unfilled or empty grains and discolouration.
Region Chairman David Armogan told the Regional Democratic Council on Friday that the infestation has worsened in the region. After the meeting, he explained at a press conference that Black Bush Polder is one of the worst affected areas.
“It is happening also in the front lands as well where there is a paddy bud infestation in the region.”

He said the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has been made aware of the situation with the aim of getting recommendations on the type of insecticides which could be effectively used.
Several insecticides have been used in the past put the bugs have become resistant to them preventing farmers from exterminating them.
“There are some new chemicals on the market and they are looking at them but it is going to affect the crop because the quality of the paddy will be reduced and as a result of that they will get less money from the millers because millers pay based on the quality of the paddy they received,” Armogan said.
While productions levels might be the same as last crop. More than 500,000 tonnes of paddy was produced during the last crop resulting in excess of tonnes of rice.
Armogan, who met with officials from the rice sector on Wednesday, says it is not dooms day for rice farmers.
“At that meeting the RPA [Rice Producers Association] President did indicate to us that there is a new chemical that he has been using and he has been getting excellent results from it so it might be interdicted to the other farmers,” the Chairman highlighted. (Andrew Carmichael)

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