Paddy bugs have wreaked extensive havoc, entomology dept has failed rice farmers

Dear Editor,

The entomology department of the Burma Research Centre has once again failed the country’s rice farmers by alerting them too late about the invasion of paddy bugs and the very poor effectiveness of  the pesticide being used.

It has been a well-known fact that when a certain chemical is used for a protracted period the particular insect biologically will build up resistance against such chemicals. This very sensitive information was always delivered at workshops and seminars by articulate research personnel. This kind of service had been available in the past not so any more. Can the head of GRDB please tell me why such services have stopped suddenly? Every farmer needs to know. But then, if you fail to disclose same, you are guilty of hiding vital information from all rice farmers.

Paddy bugs have wreaked extensive havoc in the entire country all because the entomology department failed to put in place a very comprehensive plan on how to deal with the impending invasion of paddy bugs. If ever there was any application of strategic action to counter the paddy bugs invasion, it came at a time when the damage was already done. Statistics will tell you of the extensive damage done in every rice farming community. It is alarming and devastating. It has been too much for us to bear such losses.

As I see it our entomologist needs further training. I would recommend a refresher course for her if it is possible. Because of poor performance and lack of experience, rice farmers have suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in earnings and the millers have had a field day by doling out grades recently unheard of. Some farmers have had to dump their harvested paddy and on the Essequibo coast farmers were paid $500 and $1300 per bag. The equivalent poundage was far beyond the stipulated amount. It cost the farmers $2800 – $3200 to produce one bag of paddy. In earlier times the millers used to award the farmers grades from Extra ‘A’ to negotiable but, now he has in

Place the sample grades 1-12, each sample grade has a variation of price per bag. I wish to ask Mr. Hassan the general manager of GRDB if he has knowledge of “sample grades” at the mills. I need a direct answer and may I ask do you still have GRDB grading officers at the miller’s grading offices, if not why not? The presence of such person rules out under-grading.

Research and GRDB extension services have become very poor and we need to know why this has been so? As I have often said extension services are an important link between the research station and rice farmers. There is laxity in every department at the Burma Research Station and I have no apologies in saying so. Something is not right up there. I urge our honourable minister to investigate, this is within your portfolio minister!

Be good, be alert and save the rice industry.

Yours faithfully,

Ganga (Bobby) Persaud

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