The state of the rice industry

Rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast have been lamenting for some time now about the prices they are paid for paddy compared with the cost of production. Millers are also slow to pay them and this they say compounds the problem. This week we asked members of the Essequibo Paddy Farmers Association for their comments on the rice industry. Their comments follow…

Chate Lall
Chate Lall
 Anthony Mipal
Anthony Mipal

Chate Lall – ‘If this government has a fixed rate or price for the paddy and the grading system is in place, things will definitely be better and the rice industry will not be at a crossroads. Right now, the input of rice farmers is more than their expenditure. This should not be so. That is why we are suffering so much in this industry. It is time for a change. It is time for things to become better in the industry. Rice farmers are the ones who feed the nation but instead of living a comfortable life, we are struggling. I am hoping that things will definitely be better sooner rather than later.’

Anthony Mipal – ‘Rice is in a serious crisis on the Essequibo Coast. Farmers are not getting the price to compensate for their production and the cost of producing rice is very high. The government has to get the markets with better prices and I think that will help to reduce problems in the industry. The government needs to study what the cost of production of rice is and work along with the farmers. If they do that, we will be in a better position.’

Basant Mohan – ‘One of the main reasons that the rice industry is at a crossroads is that the price for our paddy is not favourable. We are not getting any reasonable deal. The highest price for a bag of paddy is $3,000 but most of us are getting as low as $2,200. The government has a responsibility to ensure that we are treated fairly but they are not doing their part. The market for paddy is very high but the price is not being filtered down to farmers. Where is all the money going? Rice farmers are suffering.’

Tage Shewcharan
Tage Shewcharan

Tage Shewcharan – ‘All of the problems that the rice industry is facing is as a result of the government and the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB). There is a law called the Rice Factory

Basant Mohan
Basant Mohan

Act. The government allows the millers to break the act which has a great impact on rice farmers. The government also makes decisions for the farmers which cannot work. The government is allowing their own people to suck the money from the rice industry which is unnecessary and unacceptable. There is a regulatory act which should be in place to work in the interest of the farmers. If this is done, the rice industry can and will be improved.’

Abdool Azaad – ‘First of all the government placed the wrong set of people to be officials in the rice industry. They placed people who do not know anything about rice, who do not have any interest in the welfare of the farmers and who do not care about us. This is having adverse effects on rice farmers and causing us to suffer tremendously. Officials at the GRDB are collaborating with the millers and Rice Producers Association and they are making things worse for us. We are not being paid on time and our Paddy isn’t getting a profitable price. I hope something can be done to help hardworking farmers.’

Jailall Sundar – ‘I think that the present government is to be blamed for all the issues that the rice industry is facing. I work a lot and I realized that nobody is

Jailall Sundar
Jailall Sundar

interested in the affairs of rice farmers. If the government pays more interest in the farmers’ well-being we wouldn’t have to be protesting. The government can do more to help rice farmers. I don’t have anything against the government but they are neglecting the farmers so it is time for a change.’

Bhagwanlall Ramlagan – ‘The rice industry is at a crossroads because of mismanagement from the higher authority. There is a lot of things that are going wrong. The government does not explain to the farmers what is really going on. They do not tell farmers the truth. If they did, then things would be better. If the government is honest and transparent in all that they do, we as

Abdool Azaad
Abdool Azaad

farmers will be more satisfied.’

 Ragendra Singh – ‘The rice industry is in this state because there is no good management by the government. We have been facing many problems in the industry over the months and if the government was really interested in us these problems would have been resolved. Families are suffering because there is no fixed price for paddy and everybody is hoping that things will get better soon.’

Allan Banwarie – ‘I am of the view that the GRDB and the RPA along with the rice millers are too politically linked so farmers have no chance of getting a better deal. There is also a lot of illegal spending by the government and they are trying to jeopardize the accounts of the rice farmers to balance their books. If the rice industry is a free trade as they claim, I believe that farmers will get a better price for their paddy and they will be satisfied.’

 

Bhagwanlall Ramlagan
Bhagwanlall Ramlagan

Irma Luke – ‘I believe that rice is at a crossroads because the government is not looking for good prices on the foreign market. The government should not have sold the factory to private persons. I think that there should be a government-owned rice mill where farmers can go instead of these private mills. If there is better prices for the rice crop then I believe that some of the problems will be resolved.’

Ragendra Singh
Ragendra Singh
Allan Banwarie
Allan Banwarie
Irma Luke
Irma Luke

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