Black Immigrant Daily News
Some of the cows in the rice field
By: Andrew Carmichael
A rice farmer is seeking the intervention of authorities who are willing to help him save at least half of his rice crop, after all efforts have failed to stop cattle from feasting thereon.
Deonarine Sooklall, of DeHoop Branch Road, Mahaica, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), who cultivates 600 acres of rice on the left bank of the Abary River, told this publication that some 250 acres have already been destroyed by cattle.
He has said that, for the past two months, cattle have been invading his rice fields on a daily basis. According to him, there are about 160 head of cattle that he finds in his fields every morning, eating his rice plants. He said he has employed several persons to chase them out and ensure the animals stay out in the day, but at night they return.
His workmen, he said, have declared this invasion of cattle in his rice fields as a seemingly deliberate act.
Sooklall said he sowed his fields with paddy on November 15, 2022, and started his crop.
“This continues, cows all the time. When it meet December 8, I contacted the Minister. The Minister tell me to get the brand number and he would look at it.”
The farmer said he was further instructed to visit the MMA office and speak with an official there. According to the farmer, when he went to the MMA office, he was told that the cattle owner had already been contacted, and he was advised to get someone to assess the damage done by the animals.
Sooklall said he went to the Mahaicony Police Station and took the numbers of the ten different brands on some of the animals as he sought to find out who the owner or owners were, but the lack of police action frustrated him.
“They got me on today, tomorrow, all the time,” he said.
Sooklall said he erected a fence around his entire rice cultivation, but the animals seemingly ripped the fence at night and entered the fields.
“I am asking someone in authority to look into it and give me some assistance. Because right now I owe the bank millions. The Police can come and put a stop to it, but all they telling you is a private matter and I have to take the people to court. I can’t take the cows to a pound!” he said.
When this publication visited, there were at least 160 head of cattle in the rice field, and workers were seen chasing them. “These cows are very far away from a pound,” he said.
According to the rice farmer, some of his workers have been threatened. He said he reported the matter to the Police. “All the Police telling me is that it is a private matter, and we got to take these people to court.”
Sooklall said one of his workers made a report of the threats to the Mahaicony Police Station last Friday.
Raymond Ramdatt, 63, said two men, one whose name was given to this publication, went into the rice field and tried to stop him from chasing the cattle out.
“They threaten me. They threaten me, saying that if I drive out the cows, they gon kill me,” Ramdatt declared.
Recounting another incident, Ramdatt said it was raining, and he and another worker were sheltering under a tree after chasing the animals out of the field when he saw the same man opening the gate and chasing the cattle back into the rice field.
Sooklall estimates his losses to date to be in excess of $8M.
“This rice, as it is now, if the cow them keep off, we still can get something; but if the cows can’t keep off, we can’t get nothing. Some parts done,” Sooklall said.
He said he even suggested to the Police that they should arrest the persons who made the threats and those persons might be able to provide information regarding the ownership of the animals.
However, those suggestions have not been acted upon by the law enforcement officers, the farmer has claimed.