Disgusted at not been paid millions of dollars owed to them by millers since the previous crop in last year, rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast took to the streets on Friday for the second consecutive week to protest those late payments.
“Nobody is by our side; we are in limbo. We must stand up for our rights, it’s a one-sided affair. They take Essequibians for granted.”
President of the Essequibo Rice Farmers’ Association, Naith Ram, informed his fellow protestors that he wrote to a senior employee of the Guyana Rice Development Board, and was told by one of his subordinates at the branch in Essequibo that he was too busy and that he doesn’t have time. “These are the people who are put there to address our issues.”
Ram said that the spring crop is currently being harvested and rice farmers are still not aware what price would be paid for a bag of paddy. Ram is insisting that the Rice Factory Act be revised.
He further argued that the cost of production remains the same while the cost of paddy keeps falling. Ram argued that while rice officials are encouraging them to plant more rice, this logic does not make sense.
Chatelall, a rice farmer who has been owed $5M by a miller said that to date he has only received $2M. He said he has uses for his money, since he has to invest in the next crop.
The farmer who lives at Reliance, and plants some 80 acres of rice field is suggesting that the Government give the Essequibo Rice Farmers Association group, the monies that is currently being given to the RPA as a subvention grant.
Another farmer who is owed almost $600,000 said that he sold paddy to a miller last September and has only received a part of the payment. The situation, Feroze Mohamed said, is disgusting.
Some of the farmers placards read, “Mr. President, stop buying votes and address farmers”, “Sold paddy in September, six months later can’t be paid”, “farmers need better price for paddy,” and “no sample grade.”
Sep 18, 2018Story and photos by Zaheer Mohamed A well complied century by wicket-keeper batsman Kemol Savory backed up by a decent bowling performance handed last year’s finalist Essequibo a 90-run victory...
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