Rice shipments from Guyana [Ministry of Agriculture photo]
Rice farmers are advised to protect their rice crop and at the same time, protect the European Union (EU) market by complying with the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) for various pesticides at different levels set by the EU.
EU is Guyana’s largest export market, with 48 per cent and 46 per cent of Guyana rice being sold to the EU in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) in an advisory stated that one of the major challenges of the rice industry in Guyana is the damage caused by insect pests, especially the Oebalus poecilus (Dallas) commonly known as ‘Paddy bug’ or ‘stink bug’.
Farmers utilise the spraying of insecticides for the control of these pests which can result in pesticide residue remaining in the rice grains; however, if present in air, soil and water, it can pose a serious threat to biological diversity and human health.
Recognising the threat posed, the EU has set Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) for the different pesticides at different levels.
As such, the GRDB is advising farmers that it is necessary to protect the major rice market by following the guidelines and implementing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.
Farmers must strictly stick to the recommendations and only apply recommended pesticides following the guidelines provided for the management of the ‘paddy bug’ or ‘stink bug’.
Integrated Pest Management approach for Paddy Bugs control:
✓ Ensure good land leveling.✓ Sowing within the recommended sowing period [November 15 to December 30 or May 15 to June 30]✓ Sow at the same time as your neighbour or within 2 weeks (block planting)
✓ Ensure effective control of early season pests.✓ Use the recommended fertiliser regime.✓ Use the recommended water management regime.✓ Keep dams and meres free from alternate hosts.✓ Monitor on alternate days from 30 days up to flowering.✓ Kill invading adults as they come and destroy egg masses.✓ Spray fields based on the threshold of 1 bug in every 2 sweeps and/or Spray rice fields when the number of bugs is increasing over 2 to 3 days.