Just over a week ago an increase in paddy bug presence was noticed in the Black Bush Polder area and farmers are being warned about a possible infestation, General Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers’ Association (GRPA) Dharamkumar Seeraj says.

Seeraj, speaking with Stabroek News via telephone yesterday afternoon, explained that the increase in paddy bug presence may be due to the current weather conditions. However, he assured that the GRPA and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) are addressing the issue.

Several days ago, Seeraj said, the GRPA and the GRDB started holding public forums with farmers to inform them of the current situation and to advise them on how it should be handled. “There is no need for worry,” Seeraj said. “The matter is being handled.”

It is not clear just how affected farmers have been by the current infestation.

Earlier this year there was a countrywide problem of paddy bug infestation. The Ministry of Agriculture along with the various rice organizations in a collaborative effort had distributed pesticide and other materials to affected farmers.

On May 17 Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud had told this newspaper that more than 10,000 acres had been lost to paddy bug infestation and surveys of affected areas had showed a poor level of sanitation in and around rice fields and staggered sowing dates.

Addressing these issues, Persaud had explained, are the first steps which are taken to manage the level of paddy bugs. In April, high levels of paddy bug infestation were recorded in Regions 4, 5 and 6.

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