Region Two rice farmers get $200 increase in paddy price
Two days after rice farmers from Region Two (Pomeroon – Supenaam) began protesting for an increase in paddy price, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha announced that the price will only increase by $200.
During a meeting with farmers on Thursday afternoon, Mustapha assured that farmers who already took their crop to the mills and were offered $3,500 – a decrease of $600 compared to the last crop – will now receive the $3,700 retroactive. But this price is only for grade A paddy.
The Agriculture Minister said the government will continue to support and represent rice farmers and that millers have also agreed to charge $100 less for the cutting of the paddy with harvesters.
But some rice farmers are not satisfied with the new price. They had protested for $5,000 and demanded a meeting with the Agriculture Minister.
A few of the farmers told the News Room that in addition to poor prices, they are forced to transport their paddy through deplorable dams.
Many farmers also revealed that they were not able to transport their harvest because of the condition of these dams. In response, Minister Mustapha said that all complaints will be dealt with by the Guyana Rice Development Board.
“We have families to maintain, we have children to feed, we ain’t asking for free money, we just asking for better prices for something we plant and feed the nation with,” a rice farmer said.
The minister said the government is also working with a supplier of fertilizers to bring the cost down.
Rice cultivation is the main economic activity in the region and most families depend on the sale of paddy to sustain their livelihood. It should be noted that the government has no control over how much millers pay for the paddy.