PPP says ‘Govt assault on rice farmers must stop’

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The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says it condemns in the strongest possible terms the “ongoing assault being perpetrated against our rice farmers, more particularly, those in Region 5.”

Listing multiple concerns within the rice sector, the party zeroed in on the recent rate increases, instituted by the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agriculture Developmental Authority Scheme (MMA/ADA), of $1,000 per acre to $7,000 per acre and drainage and irrigation charges from $2,500 to $8,000 for Region 5 rice farmers.

The PPP in a missive said that they were recently informed that the MMA/ADA “issued hundreds of notices to rice farmers informing them that unless they pay these exorbitant increases in land rents and drainage charges, legal proceedings would be instituted against them.”

According to the party, “to now threaten the rice farmers with litigation is simply callous and unconscionable” since “many rice farmers say that were they to pay these new charges, they would have to stop cultivating because they simply cannot afford to sustain such high increases in expenditure at this point in time.”

The party says it is calling on Government to, immediately, scrap the increase inland rents and drainage charges and to withdraw the notices sent forthwith, while highlighting that they stand in solidarity with the afflicted rice farmers and will “defend them in the courts if necessary.”

See the PPP’s full statement below:  

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP)condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing assault being perpetrated against our rice farmers, more particularly, those in Region 5.

It is common knowledge that this Government destroyed the lucrative Venezuelan market for rice, within a few months after assuming office.

To date, they have been unable to find a suitable substitute.They then imposed VAT on agricultural equipment, accessories and various items needed for the rice industry that were all VAT free, under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Administration.

The President revoked over 50 agricultural leases issued by the PPP/C Government to rice farmers in the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agriculture Developmental Authority Scheme (MMA/ADA), without affording these farmers a hearing and for no apparent reason, other than that these leases were granted by the PPP/C Government.

Were presented these farmers in the High Court, which Ruled that the President’s revocation of these leases was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Not content with the destruction that they have done so far, the MMA/ADA, upon instructions of this Government, increased land rents from$1,000 per acre to $7,000 peracre and drainage and irrigation charges from $2,500 to $8,000.

A few days ago, the MMA/ADA issued hundreds of notices to rice farmers informing them that unless they pay these exorbitant increases in land rents and drainage charges, legal proceedings would be instituted against them.

Many rice farmers say that were they to pay these new charges, they would have to stop cultivating because they simply cannot afford to sustain such high increases in expenditure at this point in time.

Rather than assist the rice industry, as we have demanded the Government to do, they are driving more nails into the coffin of the industry.To now threaten the rice farmers with litigation is simply callous and unconscionable.

We will stand,resolutely, with our rice farmers on this issue and defend them in the courts if necessary.

We call upon the Government to, immediately, scrap the increase inland rents and drainage charges and to withdraw the notices sent forthwith.

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