No. 3, West Berbice, farmers claim contractor spraying weedicide destroyed their crops


Farmers at Number #3 Village, West Coast Berbice, are counting their losses after their crops were allegedly destroyed by a chemical used by a contractor cleaning a nearby canal.

The farmers are now calling on the Ministry of Agriculture to investigate the incident.

Gerreio Fullerton, 30, during an interview with the News Room on Wednesday, said the contractor started cleaning in March and that at the end of the month, the crops started dying. He then lodged a complaint at the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) and was assured the matter would be investigated. Some six other farmers were also affected and they also lodged complaints.

Farmers (from Left): Deowantie Manroop, Gerreio Fullerton and Gladson Henry.

Fullerton explained that the MMA sent persons to look into the matter but there seemed to be no progress. The farmers took it upon themselves to find out more about the work done. He said they were told that the contractor had been using a weedicide to kill the weeds in the drain when the workers were not supposed to do so.

“They supposed to chop the grass in the trench. And well first they used to and then they start use them small spray can and then they start using motor blower to cover all the distance,” Fullerton said.

Another farmer, Gladson Henry, 64, said that he is frustrated as there seems to be little progress with getting a compensation for the damages. He also said that the contractor has also accused the farmers of spraying the plants themselves.

“When they [MMA] send the man [agency representative] the man come and take pictures and said the persons who has the contract wasn’t supposed to spray the plants, they supposed to clean it with their hands and said he will talk to him to compensate us but up to now they didn’t tell we back nothing,”

The canal where the clearing was done.

Henry said.

The farmers maintain that they should be compensates because they were waiting to harvest. Henry said he supplies the Rossignol market and he had to inform the vendors that he could not supply crops.

He said he planted four crops and from all that were planted, he could not make a profit because all were destroyed.

Meanwhile, Fullerton said: “Me done 500 bora, cucumber, pumpkin and we aint get nothing. Since February month me plant.” He added that this loss has impacted his motivation to continue farming as he never suffered such a loss in the five years he has been planting.

Deowantie Manroop, 40, has been farming for about 20 years and she said her four children and husband, who rears cattle, rely on her added income.

The farmers said they cannot fully estimate their losses but maintained that it is great.



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