Region two rice farmers are in for more trouble as a field visit on Wednesday with the Regional Chairman Davanand Ramdatt and the media revealed that hundreds of acres of rice fields along the Essequibo Coast, sown with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) ’10 Seed Paddy’ are not germinating.
This has resulted in the farmers who planted the GRDB strain having to replant their fields using different varieties of seedlings, which was outlined as added cost to the already struggling farmers.
This publication was informed that farmers who are in the business of planting the GRDB 10 seedlings are the ones loosing everything because they still have to pay for the seedlings.
Their plight is further compounded by reports of farmers not being treated fairly, with millers withholding farmers’ payments for protracted periods without paying any interest on the crops sold.
The farmers who are not paid are then forced to take credit for using machinery and other services like seed paddy, fertilizers, drugs etc, in the hopes of making their production targets.
Moreover, the farmers say they are losing all confidence in the GRDB, noting that the field officers are not doing their jobs by visiting the farmers and monitoring the industry.
According to the farmers, since the new Government took office and removed the subvention from the Rice Producers Association (RPA), causing the organization to lose its technical staff, GRDB became the only body left to monitor the rice industry and give technical support.
During the last rice crop over 1000 acres of paddy in the State Farm area was set on fire due to blast and paddy bugs and the farmers lost everything, even their machinery they took on loans.
With this second disaster hitting the industry within weeks, rice farmers who might not have access to further credit might end up losing everything to the lending agencies.
Region two is a farming region and heavily dependent on the rice industry for its survival.
Regional Chairman Davanand Ramdatt said that the Government must stop playing politics and seriously look into the industry before its too late.