…want comprehensive reviewAbout two weeks after rice farmers in Hague, West Coast Demerara, raised their concern over what was believed to be an infestation of several acres of rice fields, subsequent intervention by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has reportedly resulted in little or no improvement. This has now left farmers in a state of disgruntlement. Several of these farmers reached out to Guyana Times on Saturday and what was related was a sense of dissatisfaction on the part of the GRDB.The farmers initially claimed that some 120 acres of their lands were being affected by a termite infestation but GRDB later dismissed this claim, saying that advice was given to the farmers to drain the fields and apply systematic pesticides, but the farmers refused to do so. However, according to 80-year-old farmer, Ganga Persaud, GRDB and the extension officers need to carry out an intensive investigation of their plight.“I am of the opinion that this thing can [result] in a big outbreak and if don’t figure out what is the problem, we are going to suffer seriously in this area,” Persaud pointed out.He said the GRDB only visited them once within the last two weeks and pulled out some rice plants for inspection. Persaud added that while there was some improvement, most of the crops died and as such, they want a comprehensive assessment.The GRDB said it determined that the farmer needed to drain the field, apply a systematic pesticide; in this instance it was recommended that Pronto and Regional at the recommended rates be used. According to General Manager Nizam Hassan, a subsequent visit by the GRDB showed that the farmer had water weevils and had not been spraying with the required pesticide recommended by the team. The GRDB Head claimed that the farmer also admitted to not draining his field despite being advised to do so and was, in fact, applying a contact insecticide instead, rather than a systematic pesticide. Based on a report compiled by an investigating team, dead water weevil larvae were found on the roots of some plants, the GRDB noted, adding that only one farmer, and 3.4 acres of rice fields, was presently affected.Guyana Times reported that close to 15 rice farmers were currently affected and lost much of their crop in the villages of Hague, Den Amstel, and several other areas.Omar Dhanny, a farmer who cultivates about seven acres of land at Hague, had said he and other farmers exhausted all efforts to address the situation, but to no avail.“This here affects me a lot, because this amount of rice here what damage for me, I already (gone) through all the doses of fertiliser and I already sprayed about six times. If you calculate, it is a lot of money, and nobody don’t know if we gonna get anything from the Rice Development Board,” he pointed out earlier this month.In recent years, farmers across the country have been earning reduced profits for their rice, especially with the collapse of the PetroCaribe (rice-for-oil) deal with Venezuela. Government has sought alternative markets such as Mexico and Panama. However, millers are delaying payments to farmers owing to challenges with ready access to payments from the foreign markets.