Rice farmers in Black Bush Polder are celebrating a bumper crop boasting yields of 45 bags of paddy per acre, while cash crop farmers in the same area are worrying about the low pay they are being offered for their produce.Sixty-five per cent of the 18,000 acres under rice cultivation has already been harvested in the four polders. Another 4500 acres remain in the fields to beBumper rice crop in Black Bush Polderharvested before the crop comes to an end. While those farmers are happy, the cash crop farmers are worried about the low prices they are receiving for vegetables.Seeram Ownauth is a cash crop farmer who has five acres under cultivation in Yakusari. He says sellers who come to his farm to purchase do not pay until after selling the vegetables to retailers.“When they come back then they pay you and they give you what they want. The cash crop farmers are being offered $1000 for a bag of eggplant. Ochro, he said, is offered $10 per pound.Some of the low prices are reflected in the market. While the farmers are being offered $10 per pound of okra, it is being retailed at $80 per pound at some outlets. Meanwhile, the rice farmers are counting big dollars. Roshad Gafoor has 45 acres under rice cultivation. He told Guyana Times that he is expecting to receive $1.9 million for all of his paddy. Another rice farmer in the Polder, Sasenarine Ramnarine, is smiling after reaping his 21 acres. According to him, he reaped an average of 35 to 40 bags of paddy per acre. This he referred to as excellent. During the last crop, some farmers were reaping 25 bags of paddy per acre in the Black Bush Polder.He attributed this bumper crop to proper field management and the correct usageRegion Six Chairman David Armogan met with some rice farmers in Black Bolder Polder on Wednesdayof fertilisers and insecticides.Previously, Ramnarine planted the hybrid strain referred to as GRDB 10 which is a hybrid from Brazil. Some farmers who have planted the GRDB 10 have reported similar yields to Ramnarine.However, that production could be considered low as farmers are seeing as many as 50 bags of paddy per acre being harvested from some fields.Meanwhile, Region Six Chairman David Armogan met with some of the farmers on Wednesday morning, saying several other factors affecting operational cost have resulted in larger profits for the rice farmers. He explained that the cost to hire trucks during this crop has decreased. The price of hiring a combine has also decreased and that will also help the farmers to make more profits this crop, the Regional Chairman related.In the Black Bush Polder, 18,000 acres are under rice cultivation and a further 24,000 in what is considered the front lands or the Corentyne coast between Adventure and Number 43 Village.The Chairman explained that there is a problem in trying to ensure that while the backlands (Black Bush Polder) needs the fields to be dry for harvesting, those in the front lands who will be harvesting in a few weeks need water so that they can pump into their fields.“So that is a little problem that we have to keep the water in the canal at a level that it can reach to the front lands for those farmers and also at a level that if it rains there will be no flooding in Black Bush because then the farmers will not be able to reap and those who have not finished reaping will have big loses,” Armogan added.
At the same time, city leaders express hope over a re-energized Planning Department under General Manager Gail Goldberg, who has pledged to create community plans that maintain L.A.’s traditional single-family neighborhoods while promoting more apartments and condos in other areas. Meanwhile, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has created a team headed by Housing Department General Manager Mercedes Marquez to develop a citywide housing strategy that would touch on homeownership, modernizing public housing and preserving affordable housing. “It’s so complicated,” Marquez said of the city’s housing crisis, “that only by breaking it down to its barest essentials can we fight it and win.” In addition, planners and the Mayor’s Office are creating a blueprint of high-density housing and businesses at transit stops along Metro’s Orange, Expo and Gold Lines. Councilman Reyes, who heads the council’s Planning and Land Use Committee, hinted during last week’s hearing that he might resurrect the idea of inclusionary zoning – in which developers are required to set aside some new units for low-income renters or buyers. Pressure from developers, neighborhood councils and homeowner groups killed the proposal in 2005. But after thinking it over, Reyes said inclusionary zoning is probably still too controversial. Instead, he wants to focus on developing more housing along transit lines and rewriting community plans to spell out where new housing can be built. “We as decision makers need to get with our constituents and say, where won’t you fight it? Where do you want it? What infrastructure needs to go along with?” Councilman Dennis Zine, who represents the West Valley, has mixed feelings about the future of city development. He doesn’t agree with affordable housing requirements like inclusionary zoning. But after his suburban constituents raised concern about an apartment and condo building boom in Warner Center, he agreed to temporarily require 25 percent “work-force housing” in new residential projects, which would slow development and provide units for middle-income workers in the area. “The bottom line is, do we just go with everything market rate? Then you end up like Beverly Hills and Newport Beach where everyone is wealthy and nobody else can live there,” Zine said. “The future is going to be tall buildings and condos. The factor is going to be the affordability.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Last week, for example, the City Council debated six hours before voting 9-5 for a two-tiered plan to increase relocation allocations to tenants evicted because of condo conversions. “This is an incremental step,” Councilman Ed Reyes said after the vote. “This incremental patchwork is getting very little return for the money and work we’re spending on it.” There are also questions about where the developments will go and about the trend toward building mixed-use projects, which combine residential and commercial space but also raise concerns about traffic and noise. Greuel said it’s important for the residents to be involved in the decision-making process. “I believe people in the Valley and the rest of the city can tell us where should the housing go and where shouldn’t it go. There are places where we want to protect single-family neighborhoods, and there are areas where density makes sense and there is the infrastructure to support multifamily housing.” Five years after experts voiced concerns about a looming housing crisis, Los Angeles officials have yet to develop a citywide policy that promotes construction of enough affordable units to meet the demand. But with home prices in the stratosphere, vacancy rates plummeting and developers accelerating plans for condo conversions, political leaders find themselves under increasing pressure to expand the housing stock in every area of the city. “The stars are aligned. There is a recognition of people really wanting to solve this problem,” said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, whose East San Fernando Valley district has been hit hard by condo conversions. However, it could be difficult to come up with a solution acceptable to everyone – landlords, tenants, homeowners, developers and politicians.