The rice harvesting season has recently commenced in Region Two, and farmers are already raising concerns on the alleged irregularities that exist in the local paddy grading system.
During a recent meeting between farmers and members of the Guyana Rice Development Board [GRDB], it was alleged that all is not right with the Dockage and Moisture testing at some mills in Region Two.
The grading process is integral in determining the price for a farmer’s product; with a low resulting in less cash for the farmer. As farmers explained, excessive moisture and dockage [materials apart from paddy] will reduce the grade of a farmer’s paddy.
Farmers are claiming, however, that the GRDB needs to police their system. Commenting on the alleged irregularities surrounding the dockage testing, one farmer said: The dockage (at one named mill) is always 4 percent to 6 percent and when me carry the same paddy at another other mill is two percent and three. I sell paddy to (mill named) and for the one load of paddy about 980 pounds is dockage to the one load of paddy. Everybody knows that dockage is grass seed and straw head and the most you can get is 40 to 50 full a bag.”
Apart from the dockage system, farmers are also claiming that there exist some irregularities in the moisture system. One farmer said that there is often a two percent to three percent difference in the moisture system at the said mill, as compared to other mills. The farmer further explained saying, “The moisture set is accurate at all the other mills but from the time it reach a certain rice mill, you start seeing a two percent to three percent difference for the same paddy. Then again when you collect yuh paper and say what is the poundage that they take from the paddy; they never answer.”
Farmers believe that unethical grading practices have been tolerated for too long in Region Two and that the GRDB needs to take legal action against any grader found guilty of defrauding farmers.
The miller on the other hand, told this publication that he was not present when the accusations were made and he will not comment on the issue.
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