Rice farmers continue protest as millers drop price for paddy again

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A rice farmer holds a placard during the protest on Thursday

Rice farmers in Black Bush Polder, East Berbice, Corentyne, who staged a protest action on Tuesday against the decision taken by rice millers to reduce the price they pay for paddy turned out in their numbers again on Thursday.

Reports are that millers have reduced the price for paddy from $70,000 to $65,000 per tonne.

The farmers placed tractor tires across the road at the Number 43 entrance to Black Bush Polder and blocked the roads at Lesbeholden and Johanna with vehicles and equipment saying that the decrease in prices continued up to Wednesday.

The price has moved from $65,000 to $60,000, a decision which has aggravated the farmers further.

Several rice farmers have formed a human blockade across the Number 43 Public Road (bridge) and are calling on President Irfaan Ali and Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha to visit them so that they can air their concerns and have the matter resolved.

Police are on the ground attempting to disperse the dozens of rice farmers so that traffic can flow freely.

The farmers are contending that they cannot accept the price set by millers because they will lose more with many of them pointing out that they took loans to offset production and harvesting.

They stressed that the price for fertilizers jumped from $5000 to $10,600 along with other increases such as fuel, labour and more.

The frustrated farmers are demanding that the price be retuned to $70,000 for this crop, which is said to be the largest crop and that they will compromise with the reduction for the next crop, providing the price for items such as fertilizer, fuel and manure reduce.

President of the Rice Producers Association, Lekka Rambrich, had said that while the price was reduced, it was expected to reduce even further in the coming weeks.

He had reasoned that because the rice price has fallen internationally to $26 per tonne, it has increased the pressure on millers as well, hence their decision to reduce the price they buy the paddy for from rice farmers.

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