With the interest and welfare of rice farmers at heart, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) is expanding its paddy bug campaigns with intent to completely eradicating the issue.
Speaking to GRDB’s Allison Peters, yesterday, this publication was informed that the entity has been meeting with farmers in the ten administrative regions to educate them on the issue.
She said that they have now adopted the strategy of using well trained and experienced personnel to conduct spraying. She said GRDB has taken on the responsibility of paying such persons for the service they provide.
Peters informed that they are however using a different effective approach of not only spraying the fields, but also the perimeter of such locations (dams, drains etc.) to avoid the bugs getting to the actual rice crop. She said that GRDB has also introduced new ‘wipe out’ chemicals to aid in their exercise.
That aside, she explained that they have been engaging in several seminars to better educate both farmers and rice mill employees in the areas of rice grading, checking for dockage, and moisture. She noted that they have already conducted three day workshops in Region 5 and 6, and would soon move to Region Three to continue in that direction.
According to Peters, persons will be also trained in the areas of warehouse management, health and safety, with a theory and practical approach in mind.
Earlier this year it was reported that some $1.5B was lost to paddy bug infestation in Region Six, and that farmers were forced to dump their harvest.
It was said that seventeen Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) rice farmers have been forced to dump their paddy after it was rejected by milers since more than 35 per cent of it was damaged.
The region was expected to produce an estimated two million bags of paddy this crop. However, former Rice Producers Association (RPA) Extension Officer, Ramlakhan Singh, had indicated that there was going to be a shortfall of 500,000 bags.
Another section of the media had purported that from some 58,000 acres under rice cultivation in the region and the only areas spared of the paddy bug infestation were the East Bank along with East and West Canje, leaving 95 per cent of the production area exposed to the insects.
The bugs damage rice by sucking out the contents of developing grains from pre-flowering spikelets to soft dough stage, therefore causing unfilled or empty grains and discolouration.
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