More than $740 million is currently owed as outstanding payments to rice farmers in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) by millers and despite the new crop being in its preparatory stage, nothing is being done by relevant rice stakeholders to source the monies on farmers’ behalf.
Regional Vice Chairperson Juliet Nandranie Coonjah said rice farmers are facing serious challenges, including lack of water in their fields, coupled with delayed payments.
Coonjah said that according to a report she received from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Anna Regina Branch, rice farmers are owed $600 million for the last crop and $140 million for the crop before that by millers.
She said it was unacceptable and millers should make prompt payments to farmers, while explaining that many rice farmers were incurring additional expenses to pump water into their fields.
Many of them also have bank loans to repay and families to maintain. Farmers are, therefore, calling on the Government and Agriculture Minister Noel Holder to immediately intervene as they are financially strapped.
INews understands that only recently, several rice farmers’ assets were seized by IPED as they could not afford to pay on time. Farmers also suggested that the Agriculture Minister hold a meeting with the commercial banks in an effort to reschedule loan payments, hence easing the burden they faced.