Region 2 rice farmers trained to deal with paddy bug

─fipronil chemical recommended to spray before flowering stage of crop

─keep surrounding environment clean

─block planting recommended

─stakeholders to form a committee to work with Regional Administration to address farmers’ issues.

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, January 27, 2019

In light of the recent paddy bug infestation in the Pomeroon-Supenaam, Region Two, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has collaborated with the Regional Administration and National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to hold a series of informative sessions with rice farmers. The meetings are intended to teach and train the farmers in the use of chemicals to spray for paddy bugs and management of the pest infestation.

Paddy bugs damage paddy by sucking out the content of developing grains from pre-flowering spikelets to a soft dough stage, therefore causing unfilled or empty grains and discolouration. Immature and adult paddy bugs both feed on rice grains.

High paddy bug populations are brought about by factors such as nearby extensive grassy near rice fields, wild grass growing near canals, and staggered rice planting. The insect also becomes active when the rains begin. Warm weather, overcast skies, and frequent drizzles favour its population build-up.

The first session was held on Saturday, January 26, at the Lima Play Ground and targeted farmers from the Lima/Coffee Grove district.

Entomologist Dr. Viviane Baharally from the GRDB provided the necessary guidance to the farmers and advised them on the use of pesticides.

“Paddy bugs are found in all rice environments. They are more common in rain-fed and upland rice and prefer the flowering to milky stages of the rice crop. While it is good to use Fipronil, it must not be used it after the plant would have flowered; only use it for early growth,” she said.

Dr. Viviane Baharally further explained that one spray can per acre will not effectively address this bug invasion. Therefore, she recommended that the rice farmers “use half the chemical and twice the water. You are to also overlap the spraying which will ensure the wetting of every plant. For example, 15g per acre. We have to also practise block planting which will allow for uniformity and timely spraying of the pests.”

She further said that adult paddy bugs are active during the late afternoon and early morning. Under bright sunlight, they hide in grassy areas. They are less active during the dry season. In cooler areas, the adults undergo a prolonged development in grasses. They feed on wild hosts for one to two generations before migrating into the rice fields at the flowering stages. The nymphs are found on the rice plant where they blend with the foliage. There, they are often left unnoticed. When disturbed, the nymphs drop to the lower part of the plants and the adults fly within a short distance.

Regional Executive Officer Denis Jaikaran called on the farmers to form a management committee which will include representatives from the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Rice Producer’s Association (RPA), Water Users’ Association (WUA) and Miller’s Association to focus on the needs of the farmers in the region and put collective suggestions to the office of the REO for timely action. The idea was welcomed and the farmers committed to establishing a committee comprising representatives from across Pomeroon-Supenaam representing the various farming villages.

Pledging the support of NDIA was Senior Engineer Nanram Narine who indicated that his entity will work closely with the REO and team in ensuring trenches and canals are clear for the free flow of water.

At the conclusion of the session, a demonstration exercise was conducted in the state-owned rice fields.

Story and Images: Ganesh Mahipaul.

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