Poor water management on the part of the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agriculture Development Authority (MMA-ADA) is being blamed for a decline in rice production in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).RPA representative Mohamed Rafaideen holding a plant of the ‘jaranga rice’According to Mohamed Rafaideen, who produces rice in the MMA scheme and also a Rice Producers Association (RPA) Representative, one type of rice is not being counted in the production, and with increased quantities of that wild rice being produced, production figures are declining.Rafaideen showed Guyana Times several rice fields covered with what appeared to be tall rice plants. However, a closer look revealed that the taller plants were bearing black grains of rice.“This is what we call ‘jaranga’ plants or wild rice or red rice. When one of these grains are opened and you open it, it is red. When this goes to the mill there is a tolerance level for red rice… That is not as bad as what happens here in the field”.The rice farmer explained that because the ‘jaranga rice’ grows taller, it overpowers the variety which is planted.One of the fields where the ‘red rice’ is taking overHe attributed the prevalence of the unwanted rice, in such large quantities, to the lack of proper water management. If the MMA can improve this, he posited, then farmers will be able to control the spread of the wild rice.“What is happening over the past few years, not only in the MMA scheme, you will see a lot of this in all rice-growing areas right now… because for the past few years, these schemes, as they relate to drainage and irrigation, have been neglected. You cannot have proper water management if you are not able to take water freely out from the field and let water back freely into the field. If you can take out water and let in water freely, then you will be able to manage water levels”.He further pointed out that when water levels cannot be managed, then weed and wild rice will flourish.“When this happens, it reduces the yield significantly. Right now, in the MMA scheme and right across, farmers are being faced with so much of burden,” Rafaideen lamented.Among those burdens is a 430 per cent increase of land rentals being imposed by the MMA.According to Rafaideen, while the MMA has increased fees from $3500 to $15,000, farmers do not have access to the rice fields.“We are standing here on what should be the Main Access Road, where a four-wheel truck might find it difficult to traverse. We have drainage and irrigation that are being neglected. When you have these systems that cannot get the water out of the field as we need to or into the field as we need to, then we cannot have a proper water management”.If water cannot be properly managed, weeds will take over the fields, he added.“In fact, I’ve seen the GRDB (Guyana Rice Development Board) advising farmers to reduce the amount of spraying they have been doing to control the pest”.The rice farmer noted that recently, the GRDB brought in an engineer and an agronomist who, in his opinion, are not qualified to provide advice on the way forward as it relates to the paddy bug infestation.The RPA representative also commented on the increases by GRDB.“From $1000 to $7000, and you still have the red rice in their fields? If the fields are properly levelled, that will also help to reduce and other weeds and give better yield. But they have moved the land rent from 1000 to $7000 and there are little or no drainage and irrigation services being provided there is also a little or no access to rice fields,” he stressed.
zoom John Fredriksen-controlled tanker owner and operator Frontline has reached an agreement to buy two very large crude carrier (VLCC) resales from South Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).Purchased at a price of USD 77.5 million a piece, the new 300,000 dwt VLCCs are scheduled for delivery in September and October 2017.The company unveiled the purchase as part of its financial report, saying that the VLCC resales were bought at “historically low prices without adding to the size of the global fleet.”“The company has already initiated dialogues with banks to finance our two newly acquired resale VLCCs and are confident that we will be able to secure financing at attractive terms,” Inger M. Klemp, Chief Financial Officer of Frontline Management AS, said.Through the year ended December 31, 2016, Frontline saw its net income increase to USD 177 million from USD 154.6 million reported in the previous year, while its net income for the fourth quarter fell to USD 18.3 million from USD 58.5 million seen in the same quarter in 2015.Earlier in 2017 Frontline approached crude oil tanker company DHT Holdings with a proposal for a possible business combination whereby the company would acquire DHT in a stock-for-stock transaction, which was declined by DHT’s board.In February, the company presented an improved and final offer of 0.80 Frontline shares per DHT share, which was also declined by DHT’s board.“As DHT’s largest shareholder we are surprised that DHT’s Board has declined our repeated attempts to discuss a business combination that we believe is clearly in the best interest of all shareholders,” Robert Hvide Macleod, Chief Executive Officer of Frontline Management AS, said.Frontline informed that the improvement in crude tanker rates in the fourth quarter was attributable to seasonality as well as a strong increase in OPEC volumes ahead of the implementation of production cuts.The company added that it remains of the opinion that 2017 will see pressure on freight rates as further newbuildings are delivered.