Rice farmers at the MMA/ADA location, West Berbice, are up in arms against the steep land rent increase imposed by the APNU/AFC government and last week staged a picketing exercise outside the MMA offices to register their opposition.
The government has increased land rental in the area by some 600 percent, from $3,500 per acre per year to $15,000 per acre per year.
This is the most recent assault on the rice industry and rice farmers and follows a series of measures introduced by the government which threatens the future of the industry.
Thousands of rice and other crops farmers are feeling the squeeze due to measures such as low prices, neglect of infrastructure, removal of incentives and higher rentals.
The PPP intends to place a motion in the National Assembly calling on the government to remove the steep increase.
The Guyana Rice Producers’ Association, which represents the bulk of the country’s farmers, has condemned the government for this increase and has called for it to be rescinded.
In a recent statement, the RPA stated:
The Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms, the unilateral draconian increase in land rent and other charges to farmers by the MMA/ADA. The increase in some of these charges is in excess of 600% and is being implemented at a time when farmers are getting low prices for their produce.
Rice farmers in the project area proper are now being commanded to pay $15,000 per acre, an unbearable increase from $3,500 just last year for land rent and drainage and irrigation charges.
Cattle and other crops farmers are not spared the wrath of this uncaring Authority and their rent and services charges have also been increased by more than 100% in many instances.
The RPA is calling on all farmers to resist this draconian increase and show solidarity with all as we join in the call for the reversal of this decision which was taken without any consultation with farmers, their association or any other stakeholders.
The fact that the Minister of Agriculture is equating these increases to “three beers” per day is insulting and demeaning to our farming population and we call on the Minister to apologise to our farmers for his behavior.
Let us all join in condemning this most recent attack on our people by an uncaring government.