The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) says it is conducting a study of paddy bugs to reduce their impact on rice cultivation here as well as to secure the country’s rice export, specifically to the European Union (EU) market.
GRDB’s plant pathologist, Dr Rajendra Persaud said the EU has been clamping down with legislation on safety limits of agrochemicals (pesticides) in rice and other imported food products. The EU is currently Guyana’s largest export market for rice with a 48 per cent rate recorded in 2021. For the year thus far, the rate has already exceeded last year with 52 per cent.
“A lot of European countries are rejecting rice coming from different parts of the world with pesticide residue above what they term food safety limits and the EU being our major market, we should take score of that and put things in order that we are not affected by such regulations in the EU,” Persaud said while addressing GRDB’s Conference on ‘Pesticide residue in rice’.
He said that the study is being done on the paddy bug “because of this pest, rice farmers utilise insecticide as one of their main sources of control.”
Persaud said the GRDB is now looking at alternatives to control pests given the EU’s new regulations.
“Other than pesticides we need alternatives in terms of managing the paddy bug and so we have embarked on conducting a comprehensive study on the paddy bug in Guyana with the overall objective to study the paddy bug and develop strategies that will effectively reduce its economic impact on rice cultivation,” Persaud said, adding “we are also looking at the option of some biopesticides”.
The study will re-examine host preference of the paddy bug and seek to identify the various species of the bug and that samples of rice have been sent to the CABI Center of Agriculture and Bioscience International in the United Kingdom for a detailed analysis.
The report from that analysis found the samples were discoloured as a result of several fungal and bacterial microorganisms and Persaud said that the samples were taken from “illegal” varieties of rice being cultivated in at least three regions here.
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