Payments to rice farmers owed by millers on the Essequibo Coast were expected to start on Wednesday, according to Regional Chairman of Region Two Parmanand Persaud.
Persaud, addressing members of the media at the Anna Regina Boardroom, said all rice farmers were expected to be paid in full what they were owed for the last paddy crop.
“The GRDB [Guyana Rice Development Board] is hoping that all payments will be made by millers to rice farmers starting from this afternoon (Wednesday). Representatives from GRDB are on their way to Essequibo to speak with millers to discuss the payments,” he said.
Persaud also voiced his concern about the current crop due to the inclement weather. “I am concerned about the future of the rice because the consistent rainfall has caused damage to the paddy. For this crop, we had an excellent growth but since the rain came, I am concerned that the farmers will not be able to harvest the rice properly. I know that farmers are trying to see how much rice they can harvest. The regional administration is working to see how much we can do to help farmers and the pumps are working and we have fuel, so we are going to work hard to ensure that the water is pumped from the land,” he noted.
Meanwhile, on a live call-in programme on RCA TV Channel 8, General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association (RPA) Dharamkumar Seeraj said that for the coming crop, the RPA will lobby the millers to ensure that farmers are paid within six weeks after selling their paddy. “We know that some farmers have debts to pay so we will try our best to ensure that these rice farmers are paid on time,” he said.
General Manager of GRDB Jagnarine Singh along with Regional Supervisor of GRDB Deoram Prahalad and RPA officer Rabindra Mohan were also present on the programme.
When asked by a caller what would be the price for paddy for the coming crop, Seeraj said the average price will be $3,000 per bag.
Some callers voiced their dissatisfaction about the way the farmers were treated during the last crop and they were reassured by the officials that better systems will be put in place to foster better relationships with rice farmers and millers.