Over 120 acres of rice lands being serviced by 15 farmers in villages along the West Coast of Demerara are currently affected by what appears to be a termite infestation on the present rice crop.
INews understands that Hague, Den Amstel, and several other villages appear to be hardest hit.
According to the farmers, the termites began feeding on their crops about one month ago.
Omar Dhanny, a farmer who cultivates about seven acres of land at Hague, said, “A lot of farmers struggling with the same problem. Nobody don’t really know what to do; and the research, we report this thing to the GRDB, (Guyana Rice Development Board) and they sent two extension officers, but nobody like scientists didn’t come around as yet to assist us with our struggles”.
Dhanny said he and other farmers have exhausted almost every effort to address the situation, but to no avail. In the same breath, he also explained that the infestation is financial burden.
The farmer noted that extension officers from the GRDB Office in Region Three had visited and advised that they spray the crops with a specific pesticide, but this remedy, they noted, also failed.
Additionally, he said an ex-staffer who was attached to the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has been trying to help the farmers identify the issue and, hopefully, find a solution.
Another farmer, Ganga Persaud, who has been planting rice for about 60 years in the same area, noted that he has never seen such a devastating termite.
The frustrated farmer added that when officials from the GRDB Office in Region Three visited their farm lands, they did not find anything, but merely recommended a pesticide.
He argued that merely taking samples is not good enough; in this regard, he thinks agronomists and plant pathologists have failed to give answers.
In an almost frightened tone the farmer related, “It seems as if the insects have gained resilience against pesticides, because we have tried almost everything…we can till the soil, but we cannot get rid of these things”.
It is against that backdrop that the farmers are calling for urgent attention to be given to the specific situation. Several efforts made by this newspaper to contact the GRDB proved futile.