Region 5 farmers decry deplorable farm to market roads

first_imgA lack of maintenance to the main access road at Onverwagting, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) has adversely affected the harvesting of rice and is preventing children of communities along the Abary from attending school.Region Five Chairman Vickchand Ramphal meeting with residents of East Abary River on TuesdayGuyana Times was told that maintenance should be carried out by the MMA however, the Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary-Agriculture Development Association’s (MMA-ADA) has increased its fees for land cultivation and left the farmers and residents to traverse through the deplorable conditions.When this publication visited the area on Tuesday, farmers stated that thousands of acres of rice still remain in the field even as they are in the heart of the rainy season. This period, farmers said, is generally a time when they would plow and prepare for the next crop, but they are experiencing difficulties in bringing their paddy out of the field.They are decrying the condition of the farm to market road which is in a state of disrepair.Rice farmers from the Abary River took advantage of the sunny conditions on TuesdayMohabir Gildary, a rice farmer, told this publication that he has 340 acres under rice cultivation and has only been able to harvest 300 acres. He said in some instances ,two or three tractors have to pull one to get the paddy out; as such, the remaining 40 acres will take a very long time to harvest.“The forty-acre would normally take two days to cut and carry out but with this situation, it might take about three weeks.”Gildary’s estimate comes from the amount of paddy he is able to get out of the field each day. He explained that he is forced to have his three tractors take one grain cart along several miles before it can be discharged into a lorry.“Normally I would only use one tractor but the others have to be there just in case the one stick up and then is till in front they have to take it. If the road was good the truck could have come till at the back here and full up and gone but the road too bad.Cash cropCash crop farmers are also affected. Despite Tuesday being a sunny day, Ramchand Ramnarine, another farmer, said he had difficulty taking his produce to the market.He noted that on Tuesday he attempted to take some of his produce out to the market but as a result of the condition of the road, the radiator of his vehicle became damaged. He explained the ordeal of having to leave the vehicle on the road and find alternative means of getting the produce out. He said it had been weeks since the road had become impassible and blames the MMA for not carrying out any repair works to the road.The current state of the Number 27 Farm Road which leads to the Abary River is also preventing children from attending school.Nathasa Ramoo has two children attending the Bushlot Primary School. According to her, they are taken out on a motorbike and when the road is too slushy her husband has to leave them to stand in the mud while he pushed the motorbike to a better part of the of the road and then go back for them.“By the time they reach to school if they can still go their skin is share mud,” the woman told Guyana Times.Meanwhile, another mother, Daviney Gildary, is not that fortunate and has three school age children. According to the woman, for the past three weeks, none of them have been able to attend school.When this publication visited the Abary River on Tuesday, workers from MMA were on the road carrying out some repair work.Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal who is a member of the MMA Board explained that the MMA recently increased taxes for the farmers who live and farm in the scheme. This, he said, has created an additional burden on the farmers. What has happened will push many of the farmers out of production.Ramphal is calling on the MMA to waver its rates for the current crop and to reduce its rates for the next crop. The Chairman who visited the affected farmers on Tuesday says it is a good opportunity for the Government to score some points.“I want the Government to come in and render assistance to our farmers in the form of subsidy; it can be fuel, seed paddy, fertilizers, etc, because I know for a fact many of them would have suffered major losses.”MMA/ADA increased the fees from $1000 to $7000 per acre. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more