The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), on Friday held a four-leg outreach in Corentyne, East Berbice with rice farmers.
The Department of Public Information (DPI) said that the team comprised an Entomologist, Agronomist, quality control manager, extension officers and other resource personnel attached to the GRDB.
Farmers of Crabwood Creek, Lesbeholden, BlackBush Polder, Lancaster and Canje Creek used the opportunity to voice their concerns on several issues. DPI said that the most pressing was the problem of drainage and irrigation of the rice farm lands.
Crabwood Creek, farmers asked that the dams in the farming areas be fixed.
The farmers said they felt neglected because they are continuously affected by the badly damaged D&I structures. In this regard, DPI said that GRDB General Manager, Allison Peters noted that this particular grievance will be forwarded to the head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) for swift action to be taken.“I have promised to speak with my fellow colleague on this matter to see what help can be given to the farmers in the area especially in the Number 51, the Lancaster area. The farmers were speaking about water not coming to them at the right time and that is causing them to lose their crop and to be farming outside of the cropping season.” Peters explained.
Another issue raised was that of prices offered to farmers for paddy. “We need new seed paddy, whatever they got there, some doing fairly well but in terms of pricing if we get a variety that can, you know give more yield well the farmer gonna get more money and rice is all about cash,” one farmer noted.
Peters told the farmers that, “remember, government don’t set price. What you find happening is that the prices are based on what the exporter or the miller is getting in the marketplaces. If he is getting a high price, most times he passes it on to the farmers and also there must be great need for your paddy. If he needs the paddy … then you know he will pay more to get all because he’s not the only miller in the region.”
She also noted that Region Six rice farmers are being offered the best prices for rice paddy in the entire country; as much as $2700 per bag. This is in comparison to Region Two farmers who are offered average prices of $1700 to $1900 per bag of paddy.