– farmers dissatisfied with prices
Although millers are paying cash for paddy in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), rice farmers are
The harvesting of the rice crop has commenced in Region Two
dissatisfied with the current prices offered since they cannot compensate them for their expenses.
Rice harvesting has commenced in the north and south of the coast in villages such as Perseverance, Airy Hall, Golden Fleece and Lima.
The current prices offered by millers range from $1800 to $2300 for Grade A and B paddy. Millers that are currently purchasing paddy include Arnold Sankar, Imam Bacchus and Sons, Golden Fleece Rice Investment, Sea Rice and Caricom Rice Mill.
According to Sankar, he is purchasing paddy at a price of $2300 for A and B Grades. Sankar said that he cannot raise the price as there were insufficient markets.
At Imam Bacchus and Sons mill, the prices are $2000, $2100 and $2200 for Grades C, B and A paddy. It was unclear if they were paying cash. But even as these prices are being displayed at various milling establishments, dissatisfied rice farmers said millers could offer a much better price.
“Those prices cannot pay at all, we have invested a lot into our crop this year: the extra burden was on the pumping, the El Niño situation devastated our crop. We were struggling; we can be satisfied with a $3500 to $4000 for a bag,” a rice farmer from Perseverance commented.
At various mills that Guyana Times visited, it was observed that rice farmers were taking their paddy from fields straight to the mills owing to the lack of storage facilities. They have opined that it was the only option and that was where they were vulnerable. “We have to take it to the mill despite what they will pay us ‘cause where will we store it??” another rice farmer questioned.
Rice farmers are, therefore, calling for the Government of Guyana’s intervention in seeking profitable markets. They are of the view that the prices millers are offering cannot offset their expenses and they will not make a profit. There has been a drastic decline in production this crop as fewer farmers cultivated their lands. Their challenges this crop included insufficient supply of water and intrusion of salt water into their fields owing to the El Niño crisis, late payments and indebtedness.
This crop, rice farmers were not even given lower prices for fertilisers or pesticides as were offered by the previous Government to assist them in offsetting their overhead expenses. Rice farmers also noted that the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) have not conducted many field day visits or paddy bug intervention either.
According to them, since the coalition Government took office, the rice industry within the Region has been left to suffer and those who were put in authority have suddenly become mute.
Rice farmers also explained that the previous Government had bought fertiliser at a reduced cost and lamented that this crop nothing came their way, not even a politician or anyone reaching out to seek markets for the viability of the industry.