May 07, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha has clarified that, in contradiction to a notice published by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), farmers will not face legal action for cultivating rice sourced outside of the Board.
Late last month, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) published an advertisement which sought to inform industry stakeholders that they must only engage in the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of paddy produced and approved by GRDB. The agency further noted that the failure to comply would result in legal action being taken without further notice.Since noting the foregoing, several farmers reached out to Kaieteur News yesterday morning registering deep concern that GRDB would publish such a notice. More than 50 farmers who spoke with this newspaper lamented that they would have already invested, collectively, millions of dollars in moving ahead with preparations for cultivating non-GRDB varieties that have provided successful yields thus far. To now take a different approach, the farmers complained that it would break their backs even as they continue to reel from the millions in losses suffered from the first crop for 2021.
This publication was informed that for the first crop, several farmers countrywide were unable to harvest their rice due to dams becoming impassible as a result of the inclement weather. In other cases, farmers lost millions of dollars due to the failure of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to clear canals in a timely manner, which resulted in rice fields being under water for weeks.
Taking the foregoing and other woes into account, farmers lamented that they find it quite heart-wrenching and insensitive of GRDB to threaten to take legal action against those who have suffered so much and have no choice but to continue with the plans they invested in other varieties. They also called for the Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, to intervene and hopefully render them some level of comfort and peace of mind.Yesterday afternoon, Kaieteur News made contact Minister Mustapha who said that the farmers need not be worried about GRDB employing any legal maneuverings if they are using other varieties.
The Minister said, “We will continue to assist farmers, but you know for a fact that I have been pushing the use of the GRDB 16 (the latest paddy variety) so that we can increase yields. Some farmers do not want to change the variety they use and they end up with the same yield.”
Mustapha added, “The national yield amount is 39 bags but with GRDB 16 we can get up to 60 bags. But that does not mean we will not support the farmers who don’t use it or are not in a position now to use it. We will support them. But we are doing this to encourage them to increase the yield and use of the variety. I will also ask GRDB to make this clear.”
Further to speaking with the Minister, Kaieteur News also contacted GRDB Head, Kuldip Ragnauth, who said that the Board is acutely aware of the challenges farmers face while adding that they need not be fearful of any legal hammer of sorts being brought down on them. “Like anything else, when you want to effect changes, you have a grace period and you will have a transition phase or stage. But let them be reassured, all that you mentioned about their concerns about charges or being locked up would not happen,” the GRDB official expressed.
In conclusion he said, “We understand the nature of what they are going through so we wouldn’t look to enforce that advisory now but down the road, we do want farmers to start using GRDB 16 and other varieties.”
Jun 19, 2021Kaieteur News – Athletics Guyana (AG) Senior Championships commenced yesterday at the National Track and Field Facility, Leonora. In the Men’s 110m hurdles, Hosea Glen of Guyana Defence...
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Kaieteur News – I don’t believe that there was a multi-dimensional argument that went into the rejection of the dangerous,... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]