Corentyne rice farmers are calling on the relevant authorities to take action against the cattle farmers, who they say are costing them huge losses by allowing their animals to venture into rice fields and eat their produce.
According to rice farmers, between Number 52 Village and Number 65 Village, Corentyne, there are specific cattle farmers who have exhibited a “don’t care attitude” about the destruction caused by their animals.
Amarnauth Pitamber, 31, of Lot 410 Number 55 Village, Corentyne, who plants over 35 acres of rice, explained that a few farmers leave their cattle to wander in the area. “…In the night, the animals a go in the rice field and in the day time when people go in them a come out and go reef. The owner nah come and catch them and put them in pen or anything, only when is time to bran or time to sell, then them a come for them,” he said.
Pitamber said he believes it is time that the authorities step in and send warning letters to the cattle owners. “Stray catcher nah go in there night time and when you tell them owner, them a hurry, sell them out. But we notice now that the animals getting more nuff; when was couple heads before now is hundreds,” he claimed.
Amjad Ally, 70, explained that he has been a rice farmer for over 30 years and the issue with the cattle has been affecting his livelihood for over five years. “Is nah all cattle farmers, you know, is couple of them,” the man stressed.
Nandkumar Goberdhan, 46, who plants at Number 55 Village, further noted that the animals are eating into their profits. “When them eat it, we got to throw more fertiliser to help it grow and then, if you lucky and it end up grow, sometime them eat it out back or you reap less than wah you suppose to and you had to spend more on the fertiliser,” he added.
Shazad Noheed, 45, also highlighted the need for the authorities to look into the matter, as the issue is becoming a “common one,” with the cattle farmers not being held accountable.
According to information gathered, rice farmers further up the Corentyne Coast are also experiencing the same issue and they too are seeking the intervention of the relevant authorities.
Stabroek News was told that there was previously a fence along the Number 52 to Number 65 façade dam, which prevented the animals from entering the cultivation lands. However, according to the farmers, this fence had collapsed years ago.
Additionally, the farmers explained that from time to time whenever they would make complaints, the regional administration would assist by repairing portions of the fence.
The farmers have since made contact with the Prime Minister’s Representative in Region Six, Gobin Harbhajan, who told this newspaper that an immediate relief would be for cattle farmers to be warned and further held accountable, while rebuilding the fence would be a long term solution to the problem.
According to Harbhajan, a proposed plan for the fence will be provided to him, which he will then present to the relevant ministries. “If the fence is built and you have rangers there, you would create job employment plus the rice farmers and cattle farmers won’t have this issue, the cattle will graze in their land at the back and rice fields would be protected because the rangers would be responsible for opening gates for persons to enter,” he explained.