Evaluation reports have indicated that the impact of paddy bug infestation on the current rice crop will be minimal, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud says.
More than 100 sessions have been held with farmers to educate them about the causes of paddy bug infestation so that they will be better able to understand how to apply preventative measures.
Persaud, speaking at a press conference at his ministry on Thursday, explained that in many cases preventative measures were demonstrated so that farmers could have a first-hand look at what they needed to do.
In addition to this, he said, control chemicals have been distributed to farmers throughout the rice farming regions and some level of aerial spraying has been done. The GuySuCo (Guyana Sugar Corporation) aircraft, according to Persaud, was used to spray large expanses of crops in some areas.
Reports reaching him from evaluations carried out by relevant bodies within the industry, Persaud explained, revealed that to date there has been minimal impact from the paddy bug infestation. Farmers, he assured, have nothing to worry about since the joint efforts being taken by the Guyana Rice Development Board and the Guyana Rice Producers’ Association (GRPA) have been enough to control the paddy bug situation.
It is necessary to address this issue, Persaud stressed, because of previous reports in the media. There was an issue with paddy bugs, he stated, and it is now important for farmers to know that the Agriculture Ministry and support agencies have been taking the necessary action.
During a telephone interview with this newspaper on August 8, General Secretary of the GRPA Dharamkumar Seeraj had told Stabroek News that an increase in paddy bug presence was noticed in the Black Bush Polder area. This increase, he’d said, was due to the weather conditions at that time.
In mid May, Persaud had said that more than 10,000 acres had been lost to paddy bug infestation and surveys of affected areas had shown a poor level of sanitation in and around rice fields and staggered sowing dates. These issues, Stabroek News understands, were among those which were given priority during the recent public forums with farmers.