Rice farmers in Abary section of MMA/ADA cannot afford $15,000 per acre

Dear Editor,

The AFC should stand for fairness. Mr Moses Nagamootoo, our Prime Minister, is a veteran politician, journalist and attorney-at-law, and he should see justice. But Mr Nagamootoo and Mr Granger are not saying anything. Rice is food, food is life. How can rice farmers on the MMA/ADA Abary section pay $15,000 per acre? Lands on the Essequibo and Corentyne coasts are more fertile than lands in the Abary Phase (1) MMA/ADA project, even lands in Mahaicony and Mahaica.

Lands on Corentyne and Essequibo coasts produce 45 to over 50 bags per acre, and rent for over $30,000 per acre, while lands in the Abary Section Phase (1) produce 15, 20 and 25 bags per acre, and poor farmers rent their lands from $8,000 to $10,000 per acre.

The MMA/ADA Phase (1) was never completed; only the drainage and irrigation canals. Mr Burnham said when completed it would be nicknamed ‘The Bread Basket of the Caribbean’. It was designed to yield 30 bags per acre or more, and even if a farmer got sub-standard land he could afford to pay the bank and get something for himself and family. Mr Burnham even made Gaibank build a branch office at Onverwagt MMA/ADA. When Mr. Burnham declared the project opened in 1985, the framework of the fields was yet to be completed. Mr Burnham did not live to see his last vision come through.

If he were alive, MMA/ADA would have been a paradise for the landless. Today, the Phase (1) Abary Section of MMA/ADA has been sold to rich East Coast Demerara and West Coast Berbice rice farmers during the terms in government of the PPP/C. We challenge the APNU+AFC to set up a Commission of Inquiry and see who the owners are. These rich men bought these rice plots for little or nothing.

Yours faithfully,

Bramdeow Singh and five others