Region Two rice industry in difficulty because infrastructure has been neglected

Dear Editor,

Farmers are gearing up for harvesting in Region Two as the autumn crop draws near, with heavy rainfall taking its toll. Harvesting of the present rice crop has commenced where farmers cannot fully reap because of the La Niña weather phenomenon.

Some 31,500 acres are expected to be under threat in terms of harvesting; there will be much difficulty in the region because of poor preparation for the rain. In the drainage trenches water is now level with the rice field where the ripe paddy plants are lying under water. Farmers are losing their crops, all because of poor drainage from the trenches to the sea defence kokers. In the Golden Fleece area and some other parts  of the coast the trench water is now running back into the the rice fields. That is because the trenches are too shallow to contain the water. The assessment of the affected acreages in the last flood has still not been carried out by the Extension Staff of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the field staff of the Guyana Rice Producers’ Association (RPA) for Region 3 – West Demerara; Region 5 – West Berbice and Region 6 – East Berbice.

Those rice farmers whose crop has been affected are not benefiting from any relief at the moment. Funding for the procurement of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs should be provided by the government. Assistance should be sought for the rehabilitation of the conservancies and trenches affected by La Niña as the indications are that this phenomenon is not over; it is anticipated that it will continue for a long time. The trenches also lack maintenance in terms of digging and clearing of the thick weeds. If the rain should continue, farmers are pessimistic that any bumper crop will result in this region.

Due to poor administration, the tide has turned against the rice industry; basic infrastructure to promote the industry has been totally neglected causing rice farmers to suffer.

Yours faithfully,
Mohamed Khan

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