The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) in a response to the August 4 edition of the Guyana Times, headlined ‘Hundreds of acres of rice infested with bugs’ has called the article a gross exaggeration and a misrepresentation of the facts and one which seeks to cause mischief within the rice industry which continues to recorded success in production and productivity.
“The GRDB was aware of the farmer’s problem and immediately provided extension services. It was determined that the farmer needed to drain the field, apply any systematic pesticide, in this instance, it was recommended that Pronto and Regional at the recommended rates be used. However, the farmer ignored the advice of the Extension Officers,” General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Mr. Nizam Hassan said.
According to Mr. Hassan, a subsequent visit by the Rice Board showed that the farmer had instances of water weevil and had not been spraying with the required pesticide recommended by the Extension team. The farmer also admitted to not draining his field despite being advised to do so. In fact, the farmer has been applying a contact insecticide instead, rather than a systematic pesticide.
“A contact insecticide will not give any control for water weevil larvae, and this was made clear to the farmers. They were warned of the repercussion in the event that the advice of the Rice board was not followed” the General Manager reiterated.
The report showed that dead water weevil larvae were found on the roots of some plants. Only 1 farmer and 3.4 acres were affected as a result. A subsequent meeting with farmers in the area showed that other farmers had indeed encountered the said problem, but were able to control the weevil by completely draining their fields and applying systematic insecticides.
When questioned by the visiting team about his methodology of application of the recommended pesticide, the farmer admitted to not draining his field due to constant rain- something which has compounded the issue.
While the Rice Board will continue to work with the farmer to ensure that his production is saved, the General Manager has echoed the call for farmers to work with the Extension Officers by heeding their advice on best practices. He added that while the industry has been recording successes in production it was as a result of the dedication of both farmers and extension officers, but also of farmers heeding the advice of the extension team.
Proper farm husbandry has always been the key component to ensuring farmers benefit from a bountiful rice crop. This coupled with works by both farmers and the extension arm of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has ensured, over the years, farmers record minimal losses.
The investigating team that visited the farm and held meetings with the farmers comprised;- Entomologist of the Burma Research Station, Dr. Vivian Baharally, GRDB’s Regional Superintendent, Region 3, Mr. Dahasrat Narain, Extension Officers, Region 3, Mr. Linden Cambridge and Mr. Deodram Garbarran respectively and Extension Manager, Mr. Bissessar Persaud.