As the 2023 spring crop of rice officially commenced in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), several major rice-producing communities have not completed harvesting their 2022 autumn crop of paddy. Some paddy has still been left in the fields in the Black Bush Polder and Number 52/74 areas of the Corentyne.
Overall, 82 percent of these rice-producing communities have completed harvesting their 2022 autumn crop. In Crabwood Creek, 90 per cent of the rice has already been harvested, and land preparation is currently underway for the new crop.
According to Region Six Chairman David Armogan, if the current weather pattern continues, there would be need to set up a pump in the Upper Corentyne area to irrigate lands in Moleson Creek and contiguous communities.
“Remember, they are not getting water from Sandaka anymore, because the pump at Sandaka is not operable because the Estate [GuySuCo] is not operable there. So, we may have to ask NDIA [National Drainage and Irrigation Authority] to put in a pump so that we can get water from the Canje Creek and pump it into the irrigation system for the Crabwood Creek people to plant their rice,” Armogan has said.
While updating the Regional Council on Thursday, Armogan pointed out that although the 2023 spring crop has commenced, five percent of the paddy for the 2022 autumn crop is still to be harvested in the Number 52-74 area.
“The pumps there are starting today; the crop is going to start today. They have done land preparation, so we have started to pump water as of today (Thursday). In Black Bush Polder, we have started four pumps two days ago, and so people have flooded their fields and they are in the process of starting the new crop as well,” he explained.
Region Six is projecting to put 64,000 acres under rice cultivation. For the 2022 autumn crop, which is now finishing, just over 50,000 acres had been cultivated. The reduction from the 64,000 acres for the 2022 autumn crop was due to flooding.
“We are hoping to get back to our peak production, because the weather seems to be favourable at the moment. So, once the weather continues to hold like this, and we keep pumping irrigation water into the system, I think a lot of people will get back into the crop and have every available land under rice cultivation,” Armogan has predicted.
According to Armogan, cash crop farmers would also be able to increase their cultivation this season. He said that many of them have been complaining that an insufficient supply of water has been preventing them from increasing their acreage under cultivation. However, Armogan added that December 31 is the last day any farmer should be planting rice for the 2023 spring crop.
“That is what I am told by the technical people. Because if people plant at different times, what you would find is that when some would be reaping, some will be growing; and so, the paddy bugs, when one person is finished reaping, would go into the other person’s rice field. That is one of the difficulties we have. So, the last day in December should be the cutoff point for the sowing of paddy,” Chairman Armogan has told the RDC.