GRDB to conduct aerial spraying for paddy bugs

first_imgThe Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) is soon to commence aerial spraying for paddy bugs in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).Despite experiencing heavy losses due to the paddy bugs’ infestation in the last two crops, no aerial spraying will be conducted in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).Rice farmers on the picket line at Number 56 Village on Thursday demanding aerial spraying for paddy bugsThe decision was made after rice farmers on the Corentyne, Region Six, continued their picketing exercise for a third day on Thursday, demanding that the GRDB conduct aerial spraying for the bugs which cost the region to lose more than a billion dollars last crop.Despite the advice of an international expert against this method, the farmers continued their protest.President of Guyana Rice Producers Association (PRA) Leekha Rambrich told this publication that aerial spraying to combat the dreaded paddy bugs will not be carried out in Region Two because most of the cultivations are within close proximity to residential areas.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had advised the GRDB against conducting aerial spraying with toxic chemicals in that region.General Manager of the GRDB, Nezam Hassan told <<>> that the exercise of aerial spraying to combat the paddy bugs will commence in Region Six.Meanwhile, rice farmers on the Corentyne continued their picketing exercise outside of the GRDB’s Seed Paddy Drying Facility at Number 56 Village even as the GRDB agreed to have aerial spraying in the region to stop the infestation.The farmers resorted to this after the General Manager of the Rice Board had done nothing on instructions to carry out aerial spraying o save the rice crop.Seeta Shiwpersaud, who cultivates one thousand acres at Moleson Creek, told Guyana Times that she had to apply insecticides to her crop seven times for the bugs. Each application, she said, cost about $100,000.According to her, the GRDB’s extension officers on the ground had been providing incorrect information to the office.She said extension officers visited her field at 10:00h to look for the bugs after she had reported a massive infestation at Moleson Creek.She said the officers found five insects and reported that there was infestation there.However, according to the farmer, the extension officers are aware that the bugs mainly become visible at daybreak and in the evening around dusk and not when the sun is up.Meanwhile, another rice farmer, Hemraj Babulall, who has 500 acres under cultivation along the central Corentyne Coast, said some of the pesticides which are being sold are ineffective on the paddy bugs.“The chemicals are no good,” he said.The rice farmer pointed an accusing finger at the Pesticide Board for allowing those chemicals to be sold on the market.The RPA President told this publication that some rice farmers are in the habit of purchasing chemicals from unrecognised importers and have been experiencing little or no results. He is advising that they purchase from the established dealers.Rambrich, who is also a member of the GRDB Board, said the Board met on Wednesday to once again discuss the issue of the infestation of the bugs in the rice-producing regions.The GRDB last week said that it received assistance from its international partner, the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice, also known as FLAR, to tackle the current infestation of paddy bugs. The two-man team from FLAR consists of entomologist and researcher, Dr Ed Pulver along with agricultural engineer Santiago Jaramillo Cardona.More than 62,000 acres are under rice cultivation in Region Six. The cultivation areas are Moleson Creek, Crabwood Creek, the 52-74 area, Black Bush Polder, Central Corentyne, East and West Canje and the East Bank.last_img read more